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Baked Salted Salmon with Dill
1¾ hours 15 minutes active
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We learned how to make this salmon from chef Nikolas Paulsson of the Lanternen restaurant on the Oslo fjord in Norway. For our take, we use a 2-pound skin-on center-cut side of salmon and salt it for about an hour before baking in a moderate oven. When shopping, look for a salmon side about 1 inch thick at its thickest part; pieces that are thicker or thinner will require timing adjustments when baking. The salmon will be slightly underdone when removed from the oven; a tented 5- to 10-minute rest will finish the cooking and bring the internal temperature up to 120°F at the thickest part. At this temperature, the fish should be just opaque, not translucent.
Don't delay tenting the salmon with foil after removing it from the oven. The foil traps residual heat that gently finishes cooking the fish.
15 minutes active
tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill, plus more to serve
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
pound skin-on center-cut side of salmon (see note), pin bones removed, trimmed
tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
Lemon wedges, to serve
Quick-pickled cucumbers, to serve
01Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment. In a small bowl, combine the dill and 1 tablespoons salt, then rub the mixture with your fingers to break down the dill. Place the salmon flesh side up on the prepared baking sheet. Rub the dill-salt mixture into the surface and sides. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 45 to 60 minutes.
02Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. Line a second rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment, then mist with cooking spray. Rinse the salmon under cold water, rubbing to remove the salt. Pat completely dry with paper towels, then place flesh side up on the second baking sheet. Coat the surface of the fish with the oil and season with pepper. Bake until the edges are opaque and firm to the touch and the center of the thickest part reaches 112°F to 115°F, 12 to 15 minutes.
03Remove the baking sheet from the oven and tent the salmon with foil; let rest 5 to 10 minutes (the temperature of the fish will climb to about 120°F). Using 2 large spatulas, carefully transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with chopped dill and serve with lemon wedges and pickled cucumbers.
While this is a great recipe for baking (roasting) salmon, I really don't see how the dill/salt rub can impart any dill flavor. We know that marinades don't penetrate flesh except at the most minuscule depth, so leaving a bunch of crushed dill on the fish for an hour isn't going to do much. For confirmation, I made two salmons side-by-side, one rubbed with a dill/salt mixture and one with just salt. I rinsed off both and baked both as instructed. Then, before garnishing with dill and lemon, invited my family to try each. Both salmons were absolutely delicious with a firm-but-yielding texture and well-seasoned flavor. But we couldn't figure out which one had a more "dill-y" taste. Our takeaway: save the dill for topping afterward—and heap it on! That's a great herb for salmon. (Also, the pickles: YUM.)
I would love to make this dish, however, that's a very expensive piece of fish. Is there a dinner for two offering? The piece of salmon shown on tv must have cost $30-40. That's out of control!! (Probably more since I'm on the west coast and you East Coast TV show producers don't take into account that your prices are lower!! Western Washington is being price gouged!! Alternative options would be greatly appreciated! Btw, love the show.
Cut down on salting time and rinse very well before drying and roasting.