Roasted Salmon with Watercress-Herb Salad

March 30, 2010 | By | COMMENTS

Roasted Salmon with Watercress-Herb Salad 1
The combination of seafood, lemon, and pepper is a familiar one that often borders on boring. This recipe from Bon Appetit, however, slaps the predictable right out of your everyday “salmon-with-a-blah-blah-sauce” with the addition of a watercress-herb salad and Fleur de sel that results in new flavors with every bite. Don’t let fancy French salts deter you, though, the ingredient and prep list for this recipe is short and the end result is anything but mundane.

Roasted Salmon with Watercress-Herb Salad 2
The greens were actually what drew me to this particular recipe – it calls for watercress leaves, dill sprigs, and tarragon leaves to be tossed with lemon juice, olive oil, Fleur de sel, and pepper. It also gave me a great reason to finally buy this $11 jar of sea salt.
I know what you’re thinking and yes, of course I tried it by itself. Ready for this? It’s really salty… but a little “fresh” too – sorta the same way sushi grade fish is fresh. This recipe grows more intriguing…
Roasted Salmon with Watercress-Herb Salad 3
The first thing I did was preheat the oven to 400°F, portion out the salmon – I used Wild Chinook, but feel free to consult your local fishmonger as to what’s fresh – and mixed together the marinade. I decided to leave the skin on and score it as I had plans for it later, oh yes.
The recipe suggests the salmon only need marinate for 15 minutes, or up to an hour. Any longer and the lemon juice would probably start breaking down the fish into mush. I left them swimming for about 45 minutes, turning every so often and making sure they were all nice and coated in honey-lemony-shalloty goodness.
After roasting the salmon (skin-side down) for 10 minutes or so, I decided to do a quick temperature check. They were still well under 140°F, so I let them go for another few minutes until they hit about 130°F. I noticed the skin was starting to brown around the edges, but I wasn’t satisfied with that. I turned them over, sprinkled a little Fleur de sel and pepper on them, and popped them under the broiler for about 2 minutes until…
Roasted Salmon with Watercress-Herb Salad 4<
Yes, that's a little more like it. I'm told by many sources that's “the bee's knees”.
While those rested, I tended to the greens. I'm lucky to live in an area full of numerous organic farms, and as a result, found a living bunch of watercress. It literally does not get any fresher than this.
With the greens, herbs, and dressing mixed, I topped the salmon with the sauce, greens, and a little extra Fleur de sel (I really wanted to taste that $11).
Overall, this dish turned out great! Despite being topped with a cream-based sauce, it's incredibly light, but still really delivers on flavor when you get all of the components together into one bite. I highly recommend everyone give this a shot and share your experience! Buy fresh, buy local, and cook with passion!
Roasted Salmon with Watercress-Herb Salad 5
Roasted Salmon with Lemon-Pepper Sauce and Watercress-Herb Salad
Salmon Marinade

  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp shallots, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 6 6-oz salmon fillets (or 3 12-oz – just be sure to adjust your cooking time!)
  • Lemon-Pepper Sauce

  • 1 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • salt & pepper
  • Watercress-Herb Salad

  • 1 1/2 cups (lightly packed) watercress (any variety, or any microgreen)
  • 1/4 cup small fresh dill sprigs
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Fleur de sel
  • Preparation
    Whisk honey, olive oil, shallots, lemon juice, and lemon zest in glass baking dish.
    Add salmon fillets and turn to coat. Cover and chill at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour, turning salmon fillets occasionally.
    Meanwhile, whisk crème fraîche, lemon juice, and lemon zest in small bowl. Season with salt and generous amount of pepper.
    Position rack in top third of oven and preheat to 400°F. Line large baking sheet with foil and brush with olive oil. Transfer salmon fillets, with some marinade still clinging, to rimmed baking sheet, skin-side down. Roast until salmon is just opaque in center, about 10-14 minutes. Optionally, turn the fillets over, skin-side up, season with Fleur de sel and pepper, and place under broiler for 1-2 minutes.
    Meanwhile, toss watercress leaves, dill sprigs, tarragon leaves, lemon juice, and olive oil in medium bowl. Season to taste with Fleur de sel and pepper.
    Place salmon fillet on each plate. Top with watercress salad. Drizzle with lemon-pepper sauce and garnish with lemon wedges if desired. Serve, and don’t forget the extra sauce!

    Categories: Recipes

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