Sesame Salmon

Salmon is an immensely popular fish these days. It’s found on menus in almost every restaurant, and the benefits associated with eating salmon are well-documented. But there is a debate about what’s better, wild or farm-raised.

Farm-raised is cheaper, but personally, I’m in favor wild-caught salmon, especially if it’s from Alaska. There, salmon come from a well-managed fishery and are low in contaminants. And that’s where the majority of salmon that I eat originates.

A cousin, Paul Hendrickson, lives in Anchorage, so I occasionally am the recipient of salmon from our 49th state. I haven’t received any lately from Paul, but a call from an old friend from my hometown leads me to believe my next meal of  Alaskan salmon isn’t that far off.

Ron Capistran called this morning to say that he and his wife, Penny, had a package of Alaskan salmon as well as one of halibut for me. I knew that some fish from Alaska might be coming my way after running into Penny at a July youth baseball tournament in Fargo.

Penny said their son, Derek, is a chef in Alaska, so they occasionally got up there to visit him. And she had a deal for me: some Alaskan salmon and/or halibut for some of my homemade vegetable beef soup that she liked and I had shared with her and Ron years ago.

I told her a swap could easily be arranged, and the call from Ron was meant to firm up the trade.

When I get the salmon, the following recipe from the American Institute for Cancer Research looks like a possible candidate for its use.

The pan-fried salmon is coated with a glaze made up of mirin, a Japanese wine, and along with the honey, provides a nice contrast to the salty soy sauce. A bit of cornstarch helps thicken and bind the mixture together. The sesame seeds add a subtle nut-like flavor and a crunchy crust.

Sesame Salmon
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin (any sweet white wine may be substituted)
½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
½ teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water
1 large egg white
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 pound (4 4-ounce) salmon fillets
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Whisk together soy sauce, mirin, broth, honey, ginger and garlic in saucepan. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water. Set aside.
Whisk egg white and cornstarch in small bowl. Liberally brush skinless side of each fillet with egg mixture and sprinkle with seeds evenly, pressing gently to coat.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Gently place fillets, seed side down, and cook until the seeds are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Very gently turn over and continue cooking through, about 3 minutes.
Over medium heat, simmer soy sauce mixture, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and continue simmering until sauce thickens, about 1 minute.
Spoon glaze over fillets. Serve immediately.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 290 calories, 15 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 12 grams carbohydrates, 27 grams protein, 1 gram dietary fiber, 528 milligrams sodium.

Grilled Salmon with Chunky Gazpacho Vinaigrette

Salmon on the grill is a special treat in itself, no matter if it has been marinating in a special sauce, coated with a tangy glaze or cooked on a cedar plank. And for grillers who are tired of burgers, steak or chicken, salmon is the way to go.

I recently cooked some Lake Michigan salmon on the grill using a tasty herb and white wine marinade from Lawry’s. It was delicious.

But now, with a couple more of the fillets awaiting my attention, I’m turning to a new recipe that was created by Sara Moulton, who was executive chef at Gourmet magazine for nearly 25 years and spent a decade hosting several Food Network shows. (She currently stars in public television’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals” and has written three cookbooks, including “Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners.”)

The salmon is dressed with a gazpacho vinaigrette. Gazpacho, for those of you who aren’t familiar, is a cold Spanish soup with many variations, but the basic recipe is a refreshing tomato-based vegetable soup. In Moulton’s recipe, she has added extra-virgin olive oil and sherry wine vinegar, thereby “repurposing” the soup into a chunky vinaigrette dressing.

Grilled Salmon with Chunky Gazpacho Vinaigrette
½ red bell pepper, diced
½ pound ripe tomatoes (about 2 medium tomatoes), diced
4-inch piece English cucumber, diced
Kosher salt
½ clove garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 6- to 8-ounce pieces center-cut salmon or arctic char fillets, skin on
Olive oil cooking spray
Chopped fresh herbs (such as basil, chives, tarragon, cilantro or parsley), to garnish (optional)
Heat the grill to medium.
In a medium bowl, toss together the pepper, tomatoes, cucumber and ½ teaspoon of salt. Mix well, then spoon half of the mixture into a blender.
To the blender, add the garlic, vinegar, a few grinds of pepper and the olive oil. Puree until smooth. Add the puree to the bowl of diced vegetables, stir well and season with salt and pepper.
Use paper towels to pat dry the salmon fillets. Spray the fillets all over with the olive oil spray, then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Arrange the fillets, skin side down, on the grill grate over direct medium heat. Cover and cook until the flesh right next to the skin looks opaque, 6 to 7 minutes.
Flip the fillets and cook until just cooked through, another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the fish from the grill using a wide metal spatula.
To serve, divide the sauce between 4 shallow bowls, then set a piece of salmon over each, skin side up (you can easily peel off and discard the skin at this point, if desired). Garnish with chopped herbs, if desired.
Yield: Serve 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 450 calories, 58 percent of  calories from), 29 grams fat (5 grams saturated, no trans), 115 milligrams cholesterol, 6 grams carbohydrates, 40 grams protein, 1 gram fiber, 360 milligrams sodium.

Planked Salmon with Mustard-Mayo-Dill Slather

There’s no question that smoking greatly enhances the flavor of meat. The same can be said about fish. And in the case of salmon, planking — or cooking on a plank of aromatic wood that has been soaked in water — also helps to keep fish moist as well as doing it in a fat-free manner.

The subject of planking has come up three times for me in the past couple of days. The first instance was in a story by Star Tribune food writer Lee Svitak Dean, who explained that one brand, Superior Planks of Minnesota (red oak, sugar maple and cedar), are harvested and processed on Madeline Island, one of the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior, a short ferry ride from Bayfield, Wis. (Recipes are available at

Svitak went on to say how the planks are made, how many meals the particular wood is good for and the types of liquid people use for soaking.

The other two times were in conversations I had, the first  with Jack Stoltman of Grand Forks, who just returned from the state of Washington, where he went salmon fishing and took a tour of the Pugent Sound area.

A few hours later, I mentioned this to co-worker Eric Hylden, who has some experience cooking salmon with cedar planks. (Eric’s brother-in-law is a commercial fisherman in Alaska.)

Here’s a recipe for planking salmon by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig, a cooking duo from Kansas known as the BBQ Queens who also are authors of “Techniques for Grilling Fish” and “Techniques for Planking” ($12.95 each, Harvard Common Press).

Planked Salmon with Mustard-Mayo-Dill Slather
1 salmon fillet, ¾-inch thick, skin removed (1½ to 2 pounds)
1 15-by-6-by-½-inch cedar or alder grilling plank, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
½ cup Dijon mustard
½ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
1 clove garlic, minced
Zest and juice of ½ lemon
Prepare an indirect fire in a grill, with a hot fire on one side and no fire on the other.
To make the slather, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.
Compare the length of the plank with the length of the salmon fillet and trim the salmon to fit the plank, if necessary. Place the salmon on the prepared plank and spread the mustard slather over the top.
Place the plank on the grill grate on the no-heat side. Cover the grill and cook until the fish begins to flake when tested with a fork in the thickest part, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve the salmon hot, right from the plank.
Yield: Serves 6.

Salmon Wellington

The Fourth of July is one of those days that most people associate with food. But you would be hard pressed to find anyone who would consider the solstice the same way.

But don’t try anybody living in Antarctica that. And a story that I read recently illustrates that point.

The newspaper account, which originally ran in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, was written by Gemma Tarlach, who is a chef at McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

One of 153 Americans living at McMurdo, Tarlach helped prepare what workers there call the Midwinter Dinner, which is traditionally held on the Saturday closest to the austral winter solstice and marks the halfway point of the long months of darkness and isolation.

Here’s what Tarlach had to say about it:

“Midwinter Dinner is arguably the only holiday in the world celebrated by everyone on a given continent, and planning begins weeks beforehand. Stations representing the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, New Zealand, Australia and several other nations exchange email greetings with each other while their decorating committees work hard to transform the utilitarian galleys — a throwback term to when most stations were military-run — into festive eateries.”

Tarlach’s contribution to the meal was something called Salmon Wellington, which has the Dijon mustard-slathered seafood along with spinach and shallots tucked away in savory puff pastry pies.

Salmon Wellington
2 pounds salmon fillets, skin removed
4 shallot bulbs, broken into individual, unpeeled cloves
1 tablespoon good-quality olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed very dry
1 teaspoon dried dill or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
Salt and black pepper to taste
¼ cup good-quality Dijon mustard
2 pounds store-bought frozen puff pastry, thawed but kept cold in refrigerator
2 large eggs, beaten (divided)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Toss unpeeled shallot cloves with oil, salt and black pepper on baking tray. Roast in preheated oven about 20 minutes, until soft. Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Squeeze cloves onto cutting board; the roasted flesh of the shallot should separate easily from the papery skin. Chop and add shallots to spinach in a bowl. Add dill and taste, adding salt and black pepper as desired.
Remove salmon from refrigerator and lay pieces out on a pan or cutting board. Using a pastry brush, brush tops of fillets generously with Dijon mustard. On a work table or separate cutting board, roll out thawed puff pastry to 1/8-inch thickness and cut into eight rectangles. Brush edges of pastry pieces with pastry brush dipped into beaten egg. Divide spinach and shallot filling into 8 equal portions and place 1portion in center of each piece of puff pastry. Place 1 piece of salmon, mustard side down, on top of each mound of filling.
Lift lengthwise sides of pastry up to meet over the salmon, taking care not to pull too tightly, which will cause pastry to rip open when baking. Pinch or crimp edges of dough together and press flat against salmon, creating a seam.
Place Wellingtons seam side down on parchment-lined baking sheet, tucking ends of pastry underneath each Wellington. Refrigerate at least an hour, preferably overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush tops and sides of Wellingtons with remaining beaten egg. Using a paring knife, make 3 small slashes to vent the top of each Wellington. Bake in preheated oven 30 to 40 minutes, rotating sheet tray after 15 minutes, until golden brown. Serve immediately.
Notes If using frozen salmon, at least 6 hours before assembling, cut salmon into 8 roughly equal pieces and allow any excess liquid to drain in a strainer set in a bowl, covered and refrigerated. Fresh spinach works well in this recipe. Steam the fresh spinach lightly to soften, chop and squeeze out all excess water before using.

Yield: Serves 8.

Salmon and Vegetable Oven Kebabs

What’s the most popular way to cook salmon? If you guessed grilling, you’re probably in agreement with a lot of people. Hot-off-the-grill salmon can’t be beat. And to top it off, it’s one of the easiest methods as well.

In the winter, if we grill, I like to use my Foreman. But once the weather turns nice, our backyard gas grill is the ticket for the fish that’s high in omega-3 fatty acids, which makes it a healthy choice, too.

But don’t overlook fixing salmon in the oven. One of my favorite ways is to bake salmon in a Dutch oven with a little onion, garlic, dill, lemon juice, white wine and olive oil.

One way I haven’t had salmon in the oven is using the kebab method. But I just might after looking over the following recipe from the American Institute of Cancer Research. Salmon chunks are complimented by plum tomatoes, mushrooms and slices of bell pepper and yellow squash in this tasty-looking recipe.

In this recipe, the salmon is marinated in a combination of lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, Italian seasonings, sea salt and freshly ground pepper, which gives it a decidedly Mediterranean flavor.

Salmon and Vegetable Oven Kebabs
Juice of 4 lemons
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pound wild salmon, cut into 2-inch cubes
4 small plum tomatoes, cut into quarters or 8 cherry tomatoes
4 large whole mushrooms, stems removed, halved
1 medium green bell pepper, deseeded, cut into 12 pieces
1 medium yellow squash, cut into 8 pieces
Canola oil cooking spray
4 skewers
In large mixing bowl combine juice, oil, garlic, seasoning, salt and pepper. Mix well and divide in half.
Add salmon and vegetables to half of marinade and gently toss to coat pieces. Cover and marinate for about 30 minutes, occasionally rearranging pieces to ensure even coating.
Preheat oven broiler.
Spray large shallow baking dish. Remove skewers from water. Divide fish and vegetable pieces into 4 even portions. Arrange and distribute them evenly on skewers, being careful not to break the pieces.
Place on baking dish. Brush with remaining marinade not used for marinating raw fish. Broil for about 5 to 8 minutes, brushing frequently with marinade. Carefully turn over kebabs and continue cooking for an additional 4 minutes, basting frequently until fish is done. Serve.
Note: If using wooden skewers (in lieu of metal ones), soak them in water for about 30 minutes.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 259 calories, 13 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 9 grams carbohydrates,
26 grams protein, 2 grams dietary fiber, 60 milligrams sodium.

Seared Ginger Balsamic Salmon

Have you ever wondered why salmon is so popular compared with other fish? It probably has something with its versatility. Salmon can be can be steamed, rubbed, glazed, pan-roasted and more.

Or maybe because of its health benefits: high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B12 and B6 and calcium. I think it’s both plus the fact that it also tastes good.

One of my favorite ways to have salmon is in sushi, but I haven’t quite got around to trying it that way at home. So, when I’m cooking the king of fish, it’s usually on the grill or in the oven.

Rarely do I prepare salmon on the stovetop, although there have been a lot of pretty good-looking recipes that have crossed my desk over the years. And that includes the following, which is served with a hot and sour slaw..

Seared Ginger Balsamic Salmon with Hot and Sour Slaw
¼ cup soy sauce
3 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce
4 6-ounce pieces center-cut salmon fillet with skin, patted dry
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 teaspoons canola oil (divided)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
4 tablespoons minced fresh ginger (divided)
3½ cups (9 ounces) shredded broccoli slaw
2 tablespoons rice wine or sake
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1½ tablespoons light brown sugar
Combine dressing ingredients; set aside. Season salmon with salt and pepper.
Heat half the canola oil and the sesame oil in a wok or heavy skillet until hot but not smoking. Add red pepper flakes and 2 tablespoons of the ginger; stir-fry 10 seconds. Add bell pepper and toss lightly over high heat. Add the broccoli slaw, toss lightly and pour in the rice wine. Stir and cover. Cook over medium-high heat for a minute. Uncover and add the dressing. Toss lightly and transfer to a bowl.
Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a 12-inch, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Arrange the salmon fillets in the pan, skin side up, partially cover and sear until well browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Turn the fish over and cook 5 to 6 minutes, until the fish flakes in the middle.
Portion some of the slaw on individual plates, and place salmon fillets on top.
Drain off any oil and reheat the frying pan with the balsamic vinegar, water, lemon juice, brown sugar and remaining 2 tablespoons ginger. Simmer over medium heat-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes until thickened and reduced to 1/3 cup. Carefully pour the glaze over the salmon.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 544 calories, 56 percent of calories from fat, 33.5 grams fat (6.7 grams saturated, 13.5 grams monounsaturated), 93.5 milligrams cholesterol, 40 grams protein, 18 grams carbohydrates, 4.9 grams fiber, 1,735 milligrams sodium.

Spicy Sweet Glazed Salmon

Any cook who is worth his or her salt appreciates the opportunity to eat a meal prepared by someone else. And if the food is tasty, it’s an even bigger bonus.

Therese and I had to pleasure of dining on delicious dinner last night with our granddaughter, Naomi, and her boyfriend, Brandon, who are visiting from Cincinnati. Naomi said she wanted to fix us a salmon dinner, and what she came up with exceeded my expectations.

The salmon recipe she used, courtesy of, was a sweet and spicy creation that went well with the rice medley (wild and brown), steamed broccoli and salad she also served. I shouldn’t have been surprised by the meal, since Naomi’s mother, Jessica, also is a fine cook.

The only difference in Naomi’s preparation of the following recipe is that she cooked the salmon on a Foreman grill instead of broiling it, and she left out the cilantro in the marinade.

Spicy Sweet Glazed Salmon
1½ pounds fresh salmon fillet with skin removed
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Place salmon in a shallow, flat dish, and set aside. Combine the vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, water, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, onion powder, garlic powder, cilantro and brown sugar in a blender. Blend until brown sugar dissolves. Pour the marinade over the salmon to cover evenly. Cover the dish, and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Line a broiling pan with foil. Remove salmon from marinade, and place on prepared broiling pan; season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer remaining marinade to a saucepan.
Turn on broiler to low.
Broil salmon about 6 inches from the heat for 5 minutes; brush with remaining marinade. Broil an additional 5 to 10 minutes, brushing 2 or 3 more times with additional marinade. Salmon is done when fish is no longer bright red and can be flaked with a fork.
Meanwhile, cook the remaining marinade over low heat until it thickens and reduces by one-third, 5 to 10 minutes. Use cooked marinade as a dipping sauce or drizzle over salmon just before serving.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 330 calories, 18.8 grams fat, 77 milligrams cholesterol: 729 milligrams sodium, 14.5 grams carbohydrates, 0.2 grams dietary fiber, 25.1 grams protein.

Angel Hair with Smoked Salmon in Tomato-Herb Sauce

Discovering new recipes that just happen to be mouth-watering is one of the goals of almost every cook. Nothing is more satisfying than trying a recipe that is tastes as good as it looks.

Recently, I featured some fish recipes from Spice Islands on the Herald food page ( Two of the recipes were illustrated. Both were beautiful-looking dishes.

However, a photo for the third, Angel Hair with Smoked Salmon in Tomato-Herb Sauce, also looked quite tantalizing. It look so appealing that I had to try making it. And the result more than met my expectations, so I’ve decided to share it here.

Angel Hair with Smoked Salmon in Tomato-Herb Sauce
6 ounces smoked salmon, thinly sliced
8 ounces angel hair (capellini) pasta
3  tablespoons olive oil
2¼ scups seeded and chopped tomatoes, divided
½ cup white wine
3 tablespoons capers, drained
1½ teaspoons Spice Islands Basil, Sweet
½ teaspoon Spice Islands Italian Herb Seasoning
¼ teaspoon Spice Islands Garlic Powder
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Cut smoked salmon, with the grain, into ½-inch wide strips; reserve. Cook pasta as package directs; drain.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 cups tomatoes, wine, capers, basil, Italian herbs and garlic powder. Cook until mixture is hot, about 5 minutes.
Toss cooked pasta and tomato mixture. Add smoked salmon and cheese; toss gently. Garnish with remaining tomatoes and parsley, if desired.
Yield: Serves 4.

Succulent Baked Salmon

Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. And that means there are a lot of people who are hitting their cookbooks and the Internet in search of recipes that don’t include meat.

Topping a lot of lists is salmon, I’m sure. It’s one of the most popular foods that Catholics turn to in this season of fasting and abstaining. But salmon isn’t a favorite of just Catholics during Lent.

Here’s a recipe for salmon that looks tantalizing. There are many flavor combinations in this recipe from smoky to sweet to a little hot. The bacon mixture gives the salmon added crunch and flavor, although true salmon-lovers — and Catholics — will prefer their fish plain.

Succulent Baked Salmon
Olive oil
12-ounce salmon fillet, skin and any bones removed, cut into 2 equal pieces
Salt to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons hot and sweet mustard, or any favorite mustard
1 slice of bacon, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
2 shallots, peeled, chopped
Large pinch of dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Line a baking sheet with foil and brush it with olive oil. Place the salmon fillets on the baking sheet; sprinkle them with salt and spread the mustard over the top. Set the salmon aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, saute the bacon over medium heat until it’s golden. Add the shallots and garlic, mix well, cover and cook until the shallots and garlic have softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the oregano and black pepper to taste.
Stir the shallot mixture and divide it between the salmon fillets, spreading it evenly over the top.
Bake the salmon for 15 to 20 minutes or until the fish just begins to flake easily when poked with a knife tip. Remove it from oven and serve immediately.
Yield: Serves 2.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 277 calories, 37 percent of calories from fat, 11 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 7 grams carbohydrate, 35 grams protein, 169 milligrams sodium, 95 milligrams cholesterol, 41 milligrams calcium, 1 gram fiber.

Orange-Glazed Salmon

Many New Year’s resolutions center on food. Perhaps the most common one is a vow to eat less. But the one that might be at the top of the list is to eat healthier.

One of my goals for 2012 was to prepare a meal of fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids at least once a week. So far, I’ve been successful. Up until now, Therese and I have had a couple of meals of salmon and one of cod to kick off the new year.

Omega-3s, also found in flaxseed, olive oil and walnuts, are referred to as “good” fats because they reduce bad cholesterol and can help increase good cholesterol.

A couple of groups recommend eating fish on a weekly basis. The American Heart Association recommends consuming two servings of baked or grilled fish a week, while eating a variety of seafood is also a key recommendation in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

About the easiest fish to prepare is salmon. It can be easily fixed in all sorts of manners, including baking, grilling and poaching.

I’m a fan of the wild-caught salmon, which usually is available at my local supermarket. In fact, it has a variety of wild-caught species for sale. The cod that we ate last week was wild-caught in Alaska.

I’m always looking for new recipes for salmon. I recently came across one that pairs salmon with orange slices and an orange glaze. From the looks of it, the recipe is a tasty combination that doesn’t require a lot of prep work or ingredients.

Orange-Glazed Salmon
4 cups water
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1¼ pounds salmon fillet, skin removed
¼ cup orange marmalade or apricot preserves
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 oranges, peeled, cut horizontally into ¼-inch slices
1 teaspoon citrus blend seasoning such as Mrs. Dash
Baby spinach leaves for serving (optional)
Mix together the water, salt and sugar. Place the salmon fillet in a large sealable bag. Pour water mixture over it. Seal bag and refrigerate 2 hours.
When ready to cook, remove salmon from the brine and rinse well under cold water. Place salmon on a plate and pat dry. Cut into 4 equal servings.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.
In a small saucepan over low heat, whisk together the preserves, orange juice and Dijon until smooth and melted.
Place 3 slices of orange on the baking sheet. Top with one serving of salmon. Repeat with remaining salmon and orange slices. Divide the sauce in half; set aside one half. Brush each salmon fillet with some of the sauce and sprinkle with the seasoning.
Bake for about 12 minutes, depending on thickness, or until just cooked through. Remove from the oven. Brush each salmon fillet with the remaining sauce. If using spinach, place some on each serving plate. Using a spatula, carefully place salmon fillet with the orange slices on top of the spinach. Serve with steamed vegetables and rice pilaf if desired.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 379 calories, 42 percent of calories from fat, 18 grams fat (4 grams saturated), 22 grams carbohydrates, 32 grams protein, 412 milligrams sodium, 89 milligrams cholesterol, 2 grams fiber.