As the hot weather finally sets in, the availability of fresh produce & ingredients should, in theory, make individuals more adventurous with food in the coming months. At times we get in a recipe rut.  No ingredient is more true of that than with fish.

Healthy summer eating can get boring without the occasional recipe “flyer”. Salmon is the one fish that, without distinction between where it’s from or how its farmed, is the one thing we humans seem to benefit from. With fish especially, people tend to get stale in their preparation methods. Here’re three unique and original recipe “flyers” for hot weather salmon preparation.

Salmon Nicosia Pasta Salad

Recipes that are considered standards usually have the best chance for consistency. In short  “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”  I add ½ can (tin) of sardines to bring out a Mediterranean essence to the palate. Better the ingredients better the dish, it’s that simple.

1 (1-2 lbs.) salmon fillet

½ tsp salt, divided

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided

3 tsp olive oil to cook fish

2 ½ cups Farfalle or other short pasta

1-¼ cups green beans, Haricots vert cut into 2-inch lengths

¼ cup olive oil (good quality for dressing)

2 tbs red wine vinegar

½ tin Sardines (canned in olive oil)

1 garlic clove, chopped

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

1/3 cup niçoise or kalamata olives, pitted and halved

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

4 Tsp capers, drained

Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper. Heat a couple of teaspoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add salmon; cook 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate, cool completely, and break into chunks.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, adding beans during last 4 minutes of cooking time. Drain and rinse in cold water.

For Dressing, place 1/4-cup oil, vinegar, sardines, garlic, mustard, and salt and pepper in a jar. Cover and shake briskly. Combine pasta mixture, salmon, and remaining ingredients. Toss gently with dressing.

Salmon with Late Spring Lemon-Mint Dressing

Distinctive in different tastes to the palate. The combination of the mint and lemon coupled with the mildness of the salmon is flavorful. Service with a nice side salad. (The dressing goes well on that too!)

4 wild salmon fillets (6-ounce estm)

1 tbs lemon zest

2 tbs  fresh lemon juice

2 tsp Local honey

3/4 tsp salt

1/4-cup olive oil (good quality for dressing)

1 tbs shallot, finely minced

1 sm chopped fresh mint, sm bunch,

Freshly ground black pepper, d Grinder recommended)

Garnish: fresh mint sprigs

Whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, pinch of salt, and pinch of pepper in a small bowl; slowly whisk in 1/4-cup olive oil. Stir in shallot and mint. Set aside.

Sprinkle salmon with remaining 1 salt and pepper coarse grind

Heat remaining 1-tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté salmon 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Drizzle. And continue to baste with dressing. Garnish, if desired.

Oven Roasted Cedar-Plank Salmon. With Piedmont Rub

Invest in a good piece of wood. It’s worth it and of better quality than the small BBQ planks they sell.  Oven roasting the board allows us to re-use it multiple times, soaking the board in with an additive, say a few tablespoons of cider vinegar, gives the ability to add flavors to the fish via the wood. Preparation of the board is key, Any lumberyard or even places like Lowes have a nice selection of untreated cedar shingles. Just ask for them.

1 untreated cedar or alder plank ½” Thick x18” L x10” W

1 (1 1/2-pound) salmon fillet

3 tbs Sea Salt (Coarse)

Piedmont Salmon Rub

3 tbs kosher salt

2 tbs sugar

1 tbs light or dark brown sugar

2 tsp ground black pepper

2 tsp celery seed

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp cayenne

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground fennel seed

¼ cup panko

1. Mix all ingredients for rub and set aside Soak cedar plank in water at least 2 hours (overnight preferred)

2. Remove pin bones from salmon, if necessary, and coat fish evenly with rub. Cover with plastic wrap or foil, and chill until ready to use.

3. Drain plank, lightly rub side you’re going to use with olive oil and place even layer of coarse sea salt on the board

Place salmon, skin side down, on the salted side of plank. Top with thin layer of panko breadcrumbs.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slow cooking is the key. The plank will sweat and cook the fish through out. Place planked salmon on middle rack in oven, and roast for 30 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. If desired broil on hi for 3-5 minutes to brown the top.

Can be served hot or cold.

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