It’s salmon and blackberry season and I am visiting my mother on Gabriola Island. We are picking buckets of blackberries every few days, so I apologize in for the flood of blackberry recipes, but that is what we are eating. This salmon recipe is very easy and very good. The fish is tender and luscious and the berries are sweet and warm. Leeks and mustard give the dish a bit of bite.
I discovered recently that this sort of slow, low temp approach to salmon does not work as well with pink salmon as it does with sockeye salmon. This is not important information if you live on the east coast, since the only pacific pink salmon that makes it east is in a can. But if you live in the Pacific Northwest and have a fisherman in your life you are mostly eating pinks. Grill your pink salmon. If you get your hands on some wild sockeye make this. In New York I mostly see farmed Atlantic salmon (which being from British Columbia, I turn my nose up at), but sometimes we get good wild caught sockeye. It is cheaper here though, since we are closer to the source!We served this fish with a Watermelon, Feta, Mint Salad, Cherry Beet Borscht and a Blackberry Gin Cocktail to our excellent neighbor Bud, who has been kind enough to loan us a truck while we are here on the island. The menu was entirely pink in colour! I did not think about colours when I was planning the meal and if I was going to serve it again I would include something green as well!
SLOW ROASTED SOCKEYE WITH BLACKBERRIES
- 2 big leeks or 8 baby leeks
- 4 cups fresh ripe blackberries
- 2 pounds (a scant kilogram) of fresh Sockeye Salmon
- about a tablespoon of Dijon mustard (we used tarragon Dijon and it was good!)
- a teaspoon of minced tarragon (optional)
- kosher salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- Preheat oven to 275°.
- If you are using adult leeks, slice them in half lengthwise and rinse them very well. Slice them very, very thin. If you are using baby leeks, give them a rinse and slice them into rounds. You should have about two heaping cups of leeks for this recipe. Sprinkle the sliced leeks into the bottom of a big baking dish. Scatter the blackberries on top.
- Using a very sharp knife remove the skin from the salmon fillet. This may seem like a lot of work, but I feel that it is worth it. I usually throw the skin in the freezer to toss into a soup stock later. I am not a great butcher, so the fish usually looks a mess once I’m done. It does not matter. Slather the ugly side of the fish with the mustard and place the fish mustard side down on top of the blackberries and leeks. All of those rough edges will just soak up more flavour from below.
- Pour 3/4 cup of olive oil over the fish and season it generously with salt and pepper.
- Roast until salmon for 30-40 minutes or until it is just cooked through.
- Serve the salmon broken into large pieces on top of a generous amount of the roasted leeks, blackberries, and pan juices.
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