Sockeye Salmon with Double Mustard Vinaigrette
We ended our 4th of July weekend on a healthy note, after spying some delicious looking Sockeye Salmon on sale at our local market. Sockeye is usually only available through the summer and is a smaller cousin to the more readily available larger Atlantic and Pacific varieties, with a milder flavor and denser flesh. For anyone squeamish about the taste of salmon (hi Mom), try this the next time you see it—you won’t be disappointed.
I am misleading you all a bit with this blog post though: the main reason we’re here today is for the tabbouleh. Come by our apartment between July and September and you are almost guaranteed to find a large tupperware container in our refrigerator filled with this or in dire need of replenishing. Another admission: a few posts ago I mentioned how most cooking is just variations or minor tweaks of classics or other people’s recipes. Reader, I can’t bring myself to change one bit of Ina Garten’s version of this timeless Middle Eastern salad. This recipe is one of the top hits when you do an online search for tabbouleh, and it’s for very good reason.
Willa and Phoebe both do pretty well with this meal. No, they still aren’t eating the tomatoes, but they eat everything else in the tabbouleh. For the salmon, this post has yet one more deception: Willa is a purist and refuses to have any sauce on hers. But she can eat an almost adult-sized portion of the fish. Phoebe likes a sauce, but it’s typically a homemade teriyaki-style affair that we make small batches of to keep around just for salmon and occasionally chicken (will post on this in the near future). This was the first time I made a mustard vinaigrette as a topping so I’m hoping Phoebe will come around soon enough, but we’ll let Willa eat plain salmon for as long as she wants.
You’ll want to make the tabbouleh in advance—at least the morning you first plan to serve it, if not the day before. It will keep in the fridge for a few days, if you can manage to keep it around that long. With that step complete, the rest of this dinner can be on the table in 15 minutes.
- 1-1/2 lbs. Sockeye Salmon
- 2 tsp. coarse sea salt or kosher salt
- For the Vinaigrette
- 1 tsp. whole grain mustard
- 1 tsp. dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. honey
- 2 tsp. white wine vinegar (use a good quality vinegar here, not that clear bottle of Heinz in your pantry)
- 1-1/2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- S&P to taste
- Light your broiler. Portion your fish into four pieces, and place skin-side down onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Evenly season the fillets with salt.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the two mustards, honey, and vinegar. Slowly add the olive oil into this mix while continuing to whisk rapidly, so that the oil is emulsified into the vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Rub around a teaspoon of the vinaigrette on top of each fillet to evenly coat, and place the pan under the broiler. Depending on the thickness of your fillets and how hot your broiler is, the fish should be done in 6 to 10 minutes—6 minutes for rare, 10 minutes for well-done (but please, you've come this far: don't overcook your fish).
- This preparation goes well with any kind of salmon. Most kinds of fish, really!
- 1 cup bulghur wheat
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (around 1-1/2 to 2 lemons)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 bunch green onions, sliced very thinly (around 1 c. after slicing)
- 1 c. packed fresh mint leaves, chopped fine
- 1 c. packed Italian parsley, chopped fine
- 1 cucumber, unpeeled, seeds out, and cut to a small dice
- 2 c. (1 pint) cherry tomatoes, cut in half across the equator
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Place the bulghur wheat into a large ceramic bowl. Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. As soon as the water boils, add the lemon juice and olive oil to the pan, then dump the pan's contents over the bulghur wheat. Add 2 tsp. of the salt and stir. Cover the bowl with a plate or some saran wrap and set aside.
- While the wheat is soaking and cooling, prep and combine in a separate large bowl the green onions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, remaining salt, and the pepper.
- After the wheat has completely cooled, combine it with the vegetables/herbs mix. Refrigerate for at least four hours before eating.
- To take the seeds out of a cucumber, slice it in half length-wise and and gently scrape the seeds out with a spoon until you hit the fleshier part of the cucumber. It's important to remove all the seeds, otherwise the salad can become too soggy.
- You can peel the cucumber if you want, but leaving the skin on leaves another bit of bite to the salad. Just be sure to remove any wax from the cucumber if you're buying it at a supermarket.
- Pro tip: when dealing with a large amount of herbs, clean them by treating them like lettuce: use a salad spinner to wash and dry the herbs.