A few months ago while shopping with The Kid, I went to the fish counter at my grocery store and asked for a couple of tilapia fillets. The Kid had other ideas. "No! I want salmon!" I tried not to laugh, because I really didn't want to encourage his bratty behavior, but the priceless look on the fishmonger's face did me in. I wish the "poor thing" people who think that a restricted diet means a life of deprivation could have seen my demanding four year old gourmet!
Yesterday the salmon was on sale, so I picked up some of our pink indulgence. The Scandinavian side of my family is probably to blame for my urge to reach for the dill and sour cream every time I get near a salmon, or a cucumber for that matter. The sour cream may have been banished, but my favorite baked fish is still pillowed in little green feathers.
This recipe is quick and easy, but the result is impressive and company worthy. The quantities here are for about a pound of salmon, but can easily be increased. Allow about a third of a pound per big person, about half that for the little guys.
1 lb salmon fillet
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
3-4 stalks fresh dill
1 lemon, very thinly sliced
1/4 C white wine
(Substitute 1/4 C white grape juice plus 1 Tbs lemon juice, if you prefer.)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place salmon skin side down in a baking dish, preferably one without too much additional room. Evenly distribute crushed garlic over fish. Tear dill fronds from the stalk and sprinkle them over the fish as well. Cover the salmon with overlapping slices of lemon.
Pour the wine or substitute in along the sides of the baking dish. (The alcohol will evaporate during baking.) A friend, who is something of a gourmet guru, once explained to me that cooking wine is an abomination, since it is poor quality wine with salt added, originally done to keep the cooks from nipping at it. I've followed my friend's advice never to cook with a wine I wouldn't want to drink ever since. Of course, we drink very little alcohol, so I've taken to keeping little airplane bottles of wine in the cupboard for cooking.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, and bake for 25-30 minutes until the salmon flakes apart easily with a fork. Watch out for steam when removing the foil, and don't tell anyone how easy it was!