Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cumin Crusted Salmon with Tarragon Caper Sauce

This is by far one of the most popular dishes that I prepare. It’s fancy enough to serve at your next dinner party, yet easy enough to make for an after-work supper. Serve with creamy cheese grits and roasted veggies.

1 (2 ½ pound) center-cut whole salmon fillet with skin
Juice of 1 medium lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon hot paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup cream
3 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the whole fillet, skin side down, on a rimmed baking sheet, coated with vegetable oil spray. Drizzle the lemon juice on top.

Combine the brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, and oregano in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Rub this mixture all over the salmon, coating well. Drizzle the top with olive oil.

Place the salmon into the oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees. Roast until the salmon is rare in the center, about 8 minutes per inch of thickness, or about 15 to 30 minutes for the whole fillet.

For the sauce, stir together the sour cream, mayonnaise, cream, capers, tarragon vinegar and fresh tarragon. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve the salmon with the sauce on the side. Garnish with fresh lemon or orange slices and fresh tarragon sprigs.

Servings: 6 to 8
Preparation Time: 100 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Sources and Substitutions
You don’t need to use an entire fillet for this recipe. For fewer servings, you can use individual fillets or salmon steaks. Feel free to cut the sauce in half – or prepare it as listed, and save extras for crudité dipping. The salmon is equally terrific served warm from the oven or at room temperature on a buffet table. Use left over salmon to create a wonderful salmon salad.

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