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Fresh salmon doesn’t need a lot of loving. It’s so good with a simple preparation: lots of fat (my mom always used a generous amount of olive oil), sea salt and garlic. Served with sauteed spinach and roasted winter squash, simple never tasted so good. This version is great for any delicious weeknight meal. The recipe is suitable for Keto, Paleo and GAPS diets, with a very easy 2 changes for the Whole30 and AIP versions.
How to Buy Salmon
In the past few years we’ve had a friend give us salmon who fishes for them in Alaska. They freeze the fish directly on the boats and bring them down to the lower 48 to sell. Having worked at a sushi restaurant in Seattle I know that frozen fish can be excellent. All salmon eaten raw must be frozen for a minimum of 3 weeks to kill potential bacteria. But cooking frozen salmon that I’d defrosted myself intimidated me. If it wasn’t fresh from a good fish market would it taste as good? For those on a budget, who may buy frozen salmon from the grocery market, will it turn out well?
Here’s a recipe that’s bound to assure you. Whether you have perfectly fresh salmon from a great fish monger or sustainably-caught wild frozen salmon from the grocery store, these Asian flavors please and deliver.
How to properly defrost frozen salmon? Unwrap it while it’s still frozen; then defrost it in the fridge on a large plate or platter. This may take 6-8 hours; so plan ahead.
Please note with particular interest how long to cook salmon. I believe that most Americans overcook salmon. This is a crying shame. Remember, any bacteria have been killed. Just like with red meat, rare-medium rare is the goal for optimum nutrition and flavor, not to mention the texture. This is especially true for salmon you buy frozen. Overcooking it will make it dry and unpalatable.
In Recipe notes I share some tips on how to determine when your salmon is done. Prevent overcooking. Be a hedonist. Loosen up. 🙂 Eat a bit of warm, moist meat. It tastes better. Enzymes and vitamins perish upon cooking. From Weston A. Price to Joseph Mercola to the latest Paleo authority, raw meat and meat cooked to medium rare are espoused as the nutrient-dense ideals. Leave overcooked salmon in the past and dive into living food.
- 1.5 lbs. wild salmon, approximately~ enough to feed 5 people
- 1 bunch green onions whites and greens separated, then diced
- 1/4 cup sesame oil or olive oil use olive oil for Whole 30 and AIP versions
- 2-3 inch nub fresh ginger, grated
- 2 cloves fresh garlic crushed
- 2 Tablespoons coconut amino acids, (see Recipe notes)
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice or lemon juice is fine
- 1 tsp. lime zest from an organic lime (or lemon zest)
- 1 tsp. raw honey omit for Whole30
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a casserole dish. Set aside.
- In the blender combine whites of onions, oil, ginger, garlic, amino acids, lime juice, zest, honey (omit for Whole30) and sea salt. Pulse to combine, until whites are cut into small pieces, but not fully pureed.
- Place cold salmon fillets in greased casserole dish. Pour marinade over salmon and allow to sit out for 20 minutes.
- Bake for 10-13 minutes, without overcooking. If white proteins begin to emerge to the surface you have cooked it too long. The center should still be bright pink and be tender when pushed down with an index finger, not too firm.* (*see Recipe notes)
- Garnish with lime slices, green onion's greens and optional sesame seeds.
*How to know when your salmon is done
Touch your thumb to your index finger, very lightly; don't tense the muscle. The fleshy part of your lower thumb on your palm is the firmness you're looking for, soft enough to push down into, but with a little resistance.
When salmon is overcooked it is opaque inside, a dull pink, and dry. You want it wet and glossy, very moist. It will be hot and cooked, but it will still be bright pink. The edges may be more cooked with some of the white proteins having surfaced; that's fine. But don't overcook the center.