I grew up with my Mom cooking fish several times a week. It was mostly cod, the kind that smelt like fish when you walked into the house but you felt like you were at the fish market at the San Pedro harbor in LA where everything resembled a piece of rubber. I think that’s why it was the cheapest because it tasted like the smell. Ok, so maybe my 7 year old self couldn’t appreciate the delicacies of a smoked salmon dinner and crispy, golden potatoes but in reality I dreamt of warm fried chicken and French fries from any place that resembled a fast food chain.
In our family, we ate our fish with side of rice (we did not fear carbs or fats) always from the steaming rice cooker in which we had two; one for brown rice and one for white rice. I chose white because it was fluffier and almost tasted sweet, like a pudding. Except rice was garnished with soy sauce (or in my Dad’s case mayonnaise and hot sauce!) and salty furikake and crunchy seaweed. Mom cooked farmers market zucchini or broccoli with caramelized onions and generally a large dose of shoyu (soy sauce). Sometimes she cooked the cod with a coconut curry sauce, but most of the time cooked in the cast iron pan and sprinkled with salt & pepper. When my Finnish Papa and Norwegian Grammy came to town we had kalamouika soup which was wild caught canned salmon with the bones, potatoes and cream. I got my healthy portion of fish when I was growing up.
Now that I’m older, I appreciate my mom having cooked fish for us kids. It’s become one of my favorite foods to eat! The first time I recall having a butttery, flakey, fall-apart-in-your-mouth kind of salmon, I didn’t want the meal to end. The kind you wonder where the chef learned the magic and if it was even possible to recreate a dish so fantastic. And yes it is possible. But remember, quality & fresh will always win. So my first choice will have to be wild caught salmon, preferably not frozen (if you can find it on sale, even better!)
It’s important to buy wild caught fish instead of farm raised. The latter is often imported and subject to mercury and pesticides. You’ll be able to tell a huge difference in the bright red color of wild caught versus a pale pink of farm raised. Salmon is high in vitamin B12, vitamin D, omega 3 fatty acids and helps improve brain function, reduce inflammation and heart health. Keep your eyes peeled for Alaskan wild caught fresh salmon and when you make it, be sure to let me know how it turned out!
And whenever I marinate the salmon I can still smell the fishy harbor and see the fog rolling in. And it reminds me of my mom and sitting at our St.Paul kitchen table with Japanese curry bowls and eating cod and rice and fried zucchini.
Wild Caught Salmon
- 1 lb wild caught salmon
- 1/4 cup olive oil (avocado oil or butter is fine too)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- fresh dill, chopped
- juice of one lemon
Turn on oven to 325 degrees. Pour 1/4 cup olive oil in baking pan. Place salmon in pan to coat both sides. Cook with skin facing down. Season with sea salt & pepper. Place in preheated oven at 325 for 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the salmon. It will be done when white bubbles appear on salmon. When you take it out, check the center and it will still be a little pink. Don't worry, it will still cook a bit even after you take it out of the oven. But, it's ok to eat it a little pink too! Squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top and grated Parmesan cheese if you want!