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:
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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