Oven-Steamed Salmon with Dill Sauce

Anyone who knows me well can tell you that salmon is one of my favorite foods. Whenever I come across a new recipe for salmon, my interest is immediately piqued.

Earlier this week, I was reading a story about how California salmon have returned after enforced three-year hiatus. It seems that after peaking with a 2003 catch that totaled more than 7 million pounds, the bottom fell out of the state’s fishery. By 2007, fewer than 2 million pounds were caught, and the next year it was closed altogether. This spring the season was reopened, on a limited basis, so residents probably are now seeing California salmon in the grocery store again.

The story went on to talk about ways to cook salmon and shared the following recipe for the prized seafood that accompanied by a dill mayonnaise sauces.

Oven-Steamed Salmon with Dill Mayonnaise
1½- to 2-pound salmon fillet, in 1 piece
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon minced shallots
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ cup minced fresh dill
1½ teaspoons lemon juice
Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Place the salmon, meat side up, on a cutting board and feel along the surface of the flesh with your fingertips just above and below the midline. If you feel pin bones, pluck them out with tweezers or needle-nose pliers. Season the salmon with ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste, and place on a jellyroll pan lined with lightly oiled aluminum foil.
When the oven is ready, place a baking pan on the floor of the oven and fill it with boiling water. Place the pan with the salmon on the rack. Cook until a paring knife or toothpick penetrates the flesh easily, 20 to 25 minutes. Note that the flesh will be somewhat denser than usual and that it won’t change color as much as with other cooking methods.
While the salmon is cooking, prepare the dressing. Combine the mayonnaise, shallots, mustard and dill in a food processor or blender or use a mortar and pestle and puree until fairly smooth. There should still be some dots of herbs visible. Add lemon juice and puree again. Taste, correct seasoning and set aside.
When the salmon is done cooking, there will probably be some white collagen collected on the surface. Moisten a pastry brush with oil and lightly brush it away.
Serve the salmon on a large platter with a bit of the mayonnaise spooned to one side. Serve the remainder of the mayonnaise in a bowl to pass. Tell your guests to scoop up the salmon with a spoon, leaving the skin behind.
Yield: Serves 8.
Approximate nutritional analysis per servings: 407 calories, 21 grams protein, 1 gram carbohydrates, no fiber, 35 grams fat (5 grams saturated), 71 milligrams cholesterol, no sugar, 406 milligrams sodium.