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Chef Interview: Floyd Cardoz

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Seared Black Pepper Salmon with Chives and Lemon  

Experimenting with recipes for steak au poivre, the test kitchen at Cook’s Illustrated discovered that one way to keep the peppercorns from falling off was to press down on the steak with a cake pan, before cooking it in a cast iron skillet.  We tried this method for cooking Alaskan King salmon and found that it worked marvelously.  Cracked Tellicherry peppercorns play up the richness of the wild salmon.  A few chives and a squeeze of lemon are the only other embellishment needed.

To serve 2

Ingredients for the salmon:

3/4 pound fillet of wild Alaskan King salmon,  3/4 to 1-inch thick, skin removed
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste
1 teaspoon whole black Tellicherry peppercorns
1 tablespoon minced chives
1 lemon thinly sliced, seeds removed

Method for the salmon: 

1. Rub the fillet all over with a little olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt to taste.
2. Lightly crack the peppercorns by placing them in a ziplock bag and crushing with a rolling pin.  The pepper should be very coarsely crushed.  Sprinkle over the top of  the fish.
3. Heat a large cast iron skillet over a medium flame until it is very hot.  Put the salmon, pepper side up,  in the skillet and turn the heat to medium high.  Place a cake pan on top of the fish and press down firmly.   Cook the salmon for 4 minutes, then turn pepper side down.  Replace the cake pan and again press firmly.  Cook for another 3 minutes for salmon that is slightly pink inside.
4. Remove the salmon from the skillet and place on a serving plate, pepper side up.  Sprinkle with chives and arrange sliced lemon to your liking.  To serve, cut the fillet in half.


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