My love of baking is well documented on this blog, as nearly every single recipe I post is dessert. But slowly (thanks to many Top Chef episodes watched with my mom) my appreciation for cooking is blossoming too, and I’ve begun to enjoy the process as much as I enjoy baking.
One of the things that I love about cooking is the creativity that goes into each dish. When you bake, you’re limited by chemistry, and by routine. But with cooking, it’s about more than just the finished product; it’s about unique flavor combinations, creative techniques, and colors and textures.
Such nuances are especially pronounced in this dish: the salmon is spicy and crispy, and delicately soft inside. The slaw, made of a colorful triage of purple cabbage, carrots, and cucumber, provides a wonderfully refreshing crunch, and the parsley powder packs an intensely herb-y punch, much more so than the standard dried parsley in your spice cabinet.
All of these components add up to a dish that’s explosively flavorful, and full of bright color and texture, too. If you’re looking for a dinner that’ll up the ante a bit, want to impress guests, or feel like treating yourself to a healthy and delicious meal, this is it. It’s definitely going to be added to our weekly rotation!
Yields: 4 servings
Why I love this recipe: pre-heating the pan until the oil smokes gives the salmon a deliciously crispy crust while keeping the inside moist and soft, and the homemade spice blend adds fiery flavor. The colorful slaw brings a welcome addition of clean, fresh flavor to balance it all out, and the parsley powder (made of dehydrated parsley and lemon zest) gives a little bit of zest to the whole dish and is also extremely versatile.
For the salmon:
- 4 six oz. pieces of salmon, filleted, with skin on
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon cayenne
- 2 tablespoons dried thyme
- 1 dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1/4 cup canola oil, for frying
For the slaw:
- 1 small purple cabbage, washed and outer leaves removed
- 1 carrot, peeled
- 1 english cucumber, peeled
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup light olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoom freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
For the parsley powder:
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 bunch parsley, washed + thoroughly dried
- First, make the parsley powder: preheat oven to 150° or as low as it will go.
- Spread out herbs on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet and bake until dry and brittle, 1–1½ hours.
- Working in batches, grind herbs in a spice mill to a fine powder. Store airtight at room temperature, until needed.
- Next, make the salmon: in a small bowl, add the paprika, cayenne, thyme and oregano and salt and mix to blend. Put the mixture on a plate and coat the portions of salmon, 1 at a time, on the flesh side only.
- Heat a large heavy-bottomed pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat, and add the oil. When the oil begins to smoke quite heavily shut the heat off under the pan. Add the salmon, 1 at a time, in a single layer, flesh side down, in the oil.
- Turn the heat back on under the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Use a spatula to turn the salmon to the other side. Cook the salmon over medium heat, until the skin becomes crispy, about 5 to 6 minutes.
- Repeat with each piece and lay on a plate until ready to serve. Assemble the slaw: peel the cucumber and carrot into long, thin strands. Cut the cabbage in half, through the center of the stem. Cut the core and stem out of each of the halves. Place the flat side of one half of the cabbage face down on the cutting board.
- Slice thinly down the length of the piece of cabbage, repeating the process until it is completely cut. Combine all the vegetables in a bowl; combine vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Season with dressing.
- Divide the slaw among four plates. Top each plate with a piece of salmon, sprinkle with dehydrated parsley powder. Serve while everything is warm and fresh.