Pong's Pacific Salmon (SBQ, Ep. 29)

This recipe is in honor of our good friends at San Diego Sabers, and was featured at the end of our Pong Krell/Umbara roast (SBQ, Ep. 29).  You've heard from the SDS High Council on several episodes, and Fode & Beed have had the honor to be guests on the San Diego Sabers Radio Podcast as well.

We used Pacific salmon because of San Diego's geography, but also because it just plain tastes better than Atlantic salmon.  Generally speaking, it doesn't really have that "salmon-y" quality that most people either love or hate, but it's also a hardy fish that doesn't flake into dust when you dig at it and has a pleasant oiliness to its flesh.

What you will need:

  • Whole Pacific Salmon Fillet, skin on, deboned (about 1-1.5 lbs)
  • Olive Oil
  • Butter (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Clear glass baking dish

How you do it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees-F.
  2. Coat the whole bottom of the baking dish with olive oil (about 2 Tbsp), then grind or sprinkle salt & pepper over the oil.
  3. Lay the fillet(s) skin-side-down on the oil/s&p in the dish, then grind a generous amount of salt & pepper over that beautiful salmon flesh.  If you choose to use butter as well, this is the time to evenly distribute 3-4 thin slices on top.
  4. Put the fish in the oven and set a timer for 10 minutes.  When the timer goes off, you will have to remove the fish from the oven and use a basting brush or spoon to baste its flesh with the oil from the bottom.  You will probably notice a beige "goopy" substance collecting around the lines and ridges.  This is called "albumin", and it is just coagulated proteins from within the flesh.  It will cook away if you keep reading...
  5. Put the fish back in the oven for another 5-ish minutes.  After that timer, repeat the check/baste process from Step 4.  There should be less albumin visible this time.
  6. Put the fish back in the oven for one more round of about 5 minutes.  When you remove it for the final time, you should see zero albumin, and the flesh should be a deep reddish-pink all over.  If that's not the case, bake the fish to completion in 2-minute increments while keeping a hawkeye on its color and texture.  Dry salmon is worse than dry pussy.
  7. Baste once more if you desire, but definitely let the salmon rest for a couple of minutes on the counter; you're ready to eat!

WHAT TO SIP:  Salmon is among the more rich-textured of the fishes, so a crisp, tart brew is in order to cut through all that unctuousness.  Try a sour ale such as Dogfish SeaQuench Ale or Victory's Kirsch Gose.  If you're more into simplicity, crack open a Landshark Lager with a lime wedge instead!