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Jan 23, 2007 10:08 AM

Cooking wild salmon

I'm making a wild salmon fillet tonight for dinner and was wondering how to cook it. Bake, broil? Thinking of marinading it in honey, oj, and soy sauce. I've heard that wild salmon doesn't change colors when cooked like farmed salmon. So how do I know when it's done?

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  1. Be careful when marinating fish, especially when there's an acid in the marinade ingredients (in this case, the orange juice). Do not marinate for longer than 30 minutes, refrigerated. Longer than this and the fish will start to "cook" and turn mushy.

    Wild salmon is less fatty than farmed salmon, so it's easier to overcook and become dry. Salmon's doneness is not judged by colour, but by opacity - the centre should still be somewhat opaque (glossy and translucent) in relation to the outer portions.

    I prefer to bake fish at high temperatures (425 to 450). No need to turn the fish. Estimate about 10 to 13 minutes for a 6 to 7-ounce fillet. Check the centre of one fillet with the tip of a paring knife at the 10-minute mark. And remember, it will continue to cook after you've removed it from the oven.

    1. It's also a lot drier than farmed, so watch it carefully. Make a topping with panko crumbs butter, mustard, lemon juice salt and thyme. Dry the fillets and press about 1/4 inch of the mixture onto the fish. Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for 10 minutes.

      1. I like to pan sear salmon. I have done it with wild salmon and it turns out quite well. My "recipe" is as follows:
        Pat the fish dry and rub with a spice mixture that includes a bit of salt (whatever you want)
        Sear over med-high heat in a little bit of oil (how long depends on how thick the fish is - something along the lines of 3-4 min/side)
        Remove the fish to rest for a few minutes, meanwhile make a pan sauce (here you could use the orange juice, etc without risking the mushy fish problem from marinading too long)
        Serve. :-)

        1. ditto on the pan-sear. although i prefer it cooked more rare. depending on the thickness, about 2 minutes per side does it for me. remember, it will continue to "cook" while it's resting, off the heat.

          1. Salmon doesn't need a marinade. At most it needs a glaze.

            Get yourself some cedar planks of the type used for barbecuing. Soak them for several hours in water with a filled cup weighing them down. Put the salmon directly on the plank, skin-side down if it has it, and if you must, brush a small amount of glaze over the fish. I think simple salt and pepper is good enough, since you'll be getting the smoke flavor of the cedar.

            Then put on the grill and cook it, the plank both smoking and steaming it. Know when it is done by the finger test, same as any fish, and serve it on the plank itself.

            If you did it undressed, all it will need is a lemon wedge and a salt shaker. Enjoy.

            8 Replies
            1. re: Kevin Andrew Murphy

              Actually, Kevin is right - it's best to glaze salmon, rather than marinate it. My favourite glaze for salmon is a simple mixture of Dijon mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Sometimes I'll add in a bit of ancho chili powder.

              Guess what we're having for dinner tonight? With buttermilk mashed potatoes...

              1. re: FlavoursGal

                hey gal, i'm thinking of using this glaze over farm salmon for long and how may i ask do you glaze it? (vegetarian) any help would rock!

                1. re: lollya

                  Glaze #1: Mix about 1 part good-quality Dijon mustard with about 2 parts maple syrup. Add salt and pepper to taste, and some ancho chili powder, if desired. Sorry I don't have exact measurements for this one, but I do for the one that follows.

                  Glaze #2:
                  For 4 salmon fillets (6-8 oz each):

                  1/4 cup mayo
                  2 tsp water
                  1 1/2 tsp liquid honey
                  1 tsp Dijon mustard
                  1 tsp ancho chili powder
                  1/4 tsp garlic powder
                  1/8 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper
                  2 green onions (scallions), sliced.

                  Combine all ingredients except the green onions. Using a pastry brush, coat the salmon evenly over the tops and sides. Bake at 450F until the very centre of one of the fillets is still slightly underdone when cut into with a paring knife, about 14 to 15 minutes.* Garnish with the green onions.

                  *This is the timing for farmed ATLANTIC salmon. For doneness, the very centre of the salmon should look slightly darker than the surrounding area and still be a bit glossy and translucent.

                  1. re: FlavoursGal

                    Thanks so much!!!! I'm sure my boy's belly will be happy with this recipe. I appreciate your time.

                    1. re: lollya

                      Not a problem. I use the maple syrup recipe when I smoke salmon in my electric smoking oven. It's out of this world. It'll be just as good when roasted in the oven.

                      I came up with the mayo recipe a couple of years ago, and it's still a favourite.

              2. re: Kevin Andrew Murphy

                i agree with the cedar planks.

                i usually keep my salmon simple... season with just soy sauce or most of the time i use a little evoo, lemon juice, s&p, and put onions slices on top (while cooking)
                serve with onion and lemon wedges sometimes sprinkle with dill for mostly the color and a little added flavor.

                1. re: Kevin Andrew Murphy

                  where do i buy cedar planks? i love cedar plank-grilled salmon, but i'm always at a loss as to where to buy the planks

                  1. re: ronrkey

                    Lumberyard is easy and cheap. Just make sure to buy untreated. Measure your grill length and have them custom cut. I just made cedar-planked salmon for the first time for Mother's Day and will post about it sometime this week. It was incredible!