Oven-roasted fish is one of the healthiest and easiest entrees. The tricky part is keeping it from turning dry and rubbery from overcooking. This recipe, inspired by one from “Cook Color” by Maria Zizka, offers a simple trick for avoiding that: Set the oven temp super-low, to 250 degrees, and cook for about 20 minutes, ensuring a silky, melt-in-your-mouth texture. This works best with a fattier fish with the skin attached. A smear of the Mediterranean pepper sauce, harissa, adds flavor. If you don’t have it, use a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of smoked paprika. The salad balances out the meal. Serves 4. – Susan Puckett
- 4 skin-on salmon fillets, 4 to 6 ounces each
- Fine sea salt
- Freshly ground pink peppercorns (or black peppercorns, if you don’t have them)
- 2 tablespoons mild red harissa (Moroccan red pepper sauce, such as Mina brand)
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
- 1 small head radicchio lettuce, leaves separated and torn in bite-size pieces
- 1 heart of romaine lettuce, trimmed and sliced in bite-size pieces
- Ground sumac, for sprinkling (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the salmon skin-side down. Season with salt and pepper. Rub the harissa into the salmon and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the thickness, just until the center becomes slightly opaque for medium-rare.
- Place the shallot, vinegar, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Let soften for about 5 minutes, then whisk in the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Place the lettuces in a large bowl. place in a large bowl. When the salmon is almost done, drizzle with the shallot dressing and toss gently with your hands to coat the leaves.
- If desired, sprinkle the salmon generously with sumac. Serve warm or chilled, with the salad on the side.
Susan Puckett is an Atlanta-based food writer and cookbook author.