buttered salmon with red onion, capers and dill

Home Movies Tuesday!

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I used to think salmon belonged in one place and one place only: Cured, thinly sliced and draped onto on my well-toasted everything seed bagel with too much cream cheese, raw red onion and lots of capers.

Well, I’m pleased to report it also belongs here: Cooked in browned butter, served with raw red onion, lots of capers and….dill. Of course, there is dill. Sound familiar? Yes, I did make a salmon recipe accidentally inspired by a bagel, thank you for noticing. Of course, “there are no new ideas” is not a new idea, and neither is the marriage of salmon, red onion, capers and dill, but that does not mean I will not NOT be celebrating it to its fullest extent. Which brings me to my next question: Why don’t more bagel shops offer dill?

Aside from the recipe, this video truly has it all: a tacky dating story, my In-N-Out order, and a new cast member (its…..a bunch of dill). Even if you don’t make this particular salmon recipe, the method (pouring a mixture of browned butter and olive oil over it and cooking it briefly at a low-ish temperature) is pretty foolproof.

And before you ask: If you hate capers, sure, leave them out. If you can’t digest raw onions, fry them all. If you just REFUSE to love dill, yes, you can use parsley. This is really about the fish, the fat and the low and slow temperature used to roast it. Whatever you put on it is your business (but I do recommend all the things seen here).

Buttered Salmon with Red Onion, Capers and Dill

serves 4

While salmon really is the best fish for this dish (the cooking method, the flavor profile, the whole thing), other proxies like trout and Arctic char would also work well here for their comparable fattiness. If none of those are available, this would also work well with other large fillets of fish like cod, haddock or halibut.

To serve it, I just use a large spoon and scoop out large hunks of it (as in, no need to “slice” or cut into even portions). The more rustic and wild, the better.

1 lemon
2 pounds (907 g) skin-on salmon fillet (if you can only find skinless, that’s okay)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons (90 ml) unsalted butter
¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
½ small red onion, sliced into very thin rings, divided
2-3 tablespoons(30 ml) brined capers, drained
1 cup (250 ml) fresh dill (you can use parsley if you absolutely refuse to use dill)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) toasted sesame seeds (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F (163° C). Thinly slice half the lemon and remove any seeds; save the other half for juicing.

  2. Place the salmon skin side down on a baking sheet or in a large baking dish and season with salt and pepper.

  3. Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, swirling occasionally, until the butter has started to brown, 2-3 minutes. Add the olive oil, sliced lemon and half the onion. Season with salt and pepper and cook, tossing occasionally, until the lemon and onion have started to brown and frizzle, 2-3 minutes (you’re looking for a kind of crisped rather than softened and caramelized). Add the capers and let them pop and fry a minute or two.

  4. Pour the brown butter-lemon mixture over the salmon. Place it in the oven and roast until just cooked through but still medium rare inside, 12-15 minutes; the flesh will more translucent, less opaque. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving dish.

  5. Meanwhile, toss together the dill and sesame seeds, if using, in a medium bowl. Give a squeeze from the halved lemon and season with salt and pepper. Scatter on top of the salmon, along with the remaining sliced onion.

See you next week for more Home Movies!