During breakup season, we Alaskans break up with a lot of things.
We break up with slushy roads and icy conditions. Good riddance. We break up with prolonged darkness and nights so black the constellations glow and the northern lights dance. We break up with the daily ordeal of making sure our children have every single last piece of snow gear packed in their backpacks. (Can somebody please tell me where all the gloves go?) We break up with our snow shovels, snowblowers, snowmachines and studded snow tires. We break up with auto-starting our vehicles and scraping our windshields.
And inevitably each spring, we break up with last year's salmon we have sitting in our freezers.
This was the last sockeye salmon fillet I had remaining from last fishing season. Because it was the last, I wanted to make something really beautiful.
I left it whole, skin-on, and placed it on a sheet of foil. I rubbed it with extra virgin olive oil and seasoned it generously with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Then I smashed and minced some nice big garlic cloves and threw them together with some fragrant, finely chopped cilantro.
I squeezed half a lime, drizzled some honey and poured this entire glorious mixture over top of my red salmon fillet. The entire dish took less than 30 minutes from start to finish and made a stunning and flavorful entrée. Plus, baking it in foil makes for quick and convenient cleanup.
Farewell, last year's salmon. Here's to next season and what's to come.
Cilantro lime salmon baked in foil
1 to 1 1/2 pound salmon fillet
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1. Preheat oven to 400. Lay a sheet of aluminum foil onto a rimmed baking sheet.
2. Pat the salmon fillet dry and place it onto the center of the foil.
3. Rub the salmon with olive oil to coat, then generously season the salmon with salt and pepper.
4. To a small bowl, add the garlic, cilantro, honey and lime juice. Stir to combine.
5. Pour the mixture over the salmon fillet, distributing evenly with your fingers. Fold the edges of the foil up toward the salmon to hold in the juices (pictured), but do not cover the top of the salmon with the foil.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked to medium in the center, being careful not to dry out (cooking time may vary depending on the size and thickness of your fillet). Spoon the pan juices over top of the fillet just prior to serving. Adapted from Julia's Album.
Maya Wilson lives in Kenai and blogs about food at alaskafromscratch.com. Have a food question or recipe request? Email email@example.com and your inquiry may appear in a future column.