Have you noticed all the commercials for fish lately? Everywhere I look there are ads for fish sandwiches (remember this one from a few years ago?), fish fry dinners, and even frozen fish in oven-ready bags. Why the sudden interest in fish? Oh yeah, the season of Lent is upon us. Many people give up eating “meat” on Fridays during Lent, and thus turn to fish for their dinners. I still don’t really understand why fish isn’t considered “meat” in this context, but I think it has more to do with making a sacrifice and not eating something indulgent (like beef).
Personally, I love fish and seafood and eat it quite regularly whether it’s the Lenten season or not. But I know that some people avoid it–especially cooking it at home–because they’re not quite sure what to do with it. Fish definitely has a more delicate texture than chicken or beef, so you do need to use a little care when cooking it. The best advice I can give is to have a really hot pan (or grill) so that the fish gets a nice sear on it (instead of sticking to the pan).
This is a very simple recipe I came up with for cooking fish during the winter (or whenever it’s too cold to grill outside). The lemon zest and capers go well with a variety of fish, so feel free to swap out the salmon if you want to. I would suggest using a firm-fleshed fish (like cod or halibut) because they tend to be easier to handle.
Lemon Caper Salmon (my own creation)
- 1 large piece of salmon (about 16 ounces)
- 1-2 teaspoons olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 Tablespoons capers
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat a cast iron grill pan over medium-high heat. Rub the olive oil over the salmon fillet and season with salt & pepper.
- Place the salmon (skin side up) in the grill pan and cook for 3-5 minutes.
- Use a fish spatula to gently turn the salmon over. Sprinkle the lemon zest and capers over the top of the salmon. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the salmon reaches your preferred level of doneness.
Time: 25 minutes (or less)
Notes: If you don’t have a cast iron grill pan, you could use an all-metal frying or saute pan instead. Just make sure that the pan is safe to go in the oven.