Salmon (or any fish) in Saffron Broth with New Potatoes

Salmon worked wonderfully in this easy yet exotic meal, but halibut would also shine as would walleye, rockfish and most other fillets.

Saffron, the dried stigmas of crocus flowers, imbues food with a rich yellow-orange color and distinctive flavor that goes especially well with fish. Since it only takes a healthy pinch of the crumbled filaments, it’s not as expensive to use as you might think. We’ve been using Spanish coupe grade saffron from Penzeys Spices and have been very happy with it.

Crocus sativus, the saffron crocus –

This is our take on a recipe we found in a recent addition to our cookbook collection, The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen. Their recipe calls for hake, chorizo and clam juice. Along with a few other minor changes, we substituted salmon fillets, thick-cut bacon and fish broth made from salmon and added a bit of powdered chipotle, cayenne and mesquite to emulate chorizo’s spicy smokiness. With most of the fat rended from the bacon, and the cooked bacon then pressed between paper towels, this is a healthful, satisfying one-bowl dinner. Add hunks of crusty rustic-style bread, and while you can seldom go wrong with salmon and Chardonnay, try pairing this dish with a Riesling that has a hint of sweetness to it.

Salmon in Saffron Broth with New Potatoes


  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sweet onion, chopped fine
  • thick-cut bacon, fried, pressed between paper towels and cut into small pieces
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • saffron
  • fish stock – clear, preferably homemade from fresh fish as we’ve found it difficult to obtain quality fish stock otherwise. Or use clam juice.
  • water
  • dry white wine
  • small red or yellow potatoes
  • seasonings: bay leaf, marjoram, soy sauce (or sea salt), chipotle powder, cayenne pepper,   and mesquite (for additional smokiness)
  • salmon fillets, skin removed and fillets patted dry (We felt that almost any type of fish   would work well in this dish.)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • chervil or parsley
  • fresh lime juice


This works best in a sauteuse pan. You don’t need a lot of broth in this dish – perhaps a cup or so per serving. The potatoes and fish should rest in the broth, not be completely covered by it.

  1. Sauté the onions in olive oil. When they just begin to caramelize, add the minced garlic and crumble in the saffron. Cook for about 30 seconds, just till the garlic releases its aroma.
  2. Stir in fish stock and wine.
  3. Add potatoes and the seasonings – just a little of each as you can always add more if you need to. Give the broth a taste. If the flavor of the fish stock or clam juice is too strong, add a bit of water.
  4. Keep heat fairly low, at – or preferably just below – a low simmer. Cook until potatoes are tender – almost ready to serve. Taste broth and adjust seasonings as desired.
  5. Season the salmon fillets with freshly cracked pepper. Create space in the pan and position the salmon fillets skinned side down in the broth. Cook at or just below a low simmer for 7 to 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet. With salmon, you’ll see white albumin form on the fillet when it is cooked through. You can check with a thermometer – 140° F for fish.
  6. Remove pan from heat. Gently stir in a little lime juice and a sprinkle of chervil or parsley.
  7. Serve in shallow bowls, spooning some broth over the fillet.

Leftovers? Or Canned Salmon’s all You’ve Got? No Worries. Salmon Avocado Sandwich

Whip up this restaurant-worthy salmon sandwich in no time with a can of salmon, an avocado, and a couple of ingredients you probably already have on hand. Serve it with something creative from your Soda Stream (that’s a Currant Fizz in the photo) or a glass of sparkling water with a slice of lemon.

Canned salmon is cost-effective, convenient and delicious. In fact, a lot of us who catch all the salmon we need to get us through the year can our own. It’s great in salmon burgers, salmon dip, salmon sausage, as a pasta topping or in any number of other recipes. When we lived in Mongolia, canned Alaskan salmon was the only salmon readily available. We always have this versatile, tasty ingredient in our pantry. Of course, you can easily make this sandwich with grilled or broiled salmon – or leftovers. We’ve made this sandwich with all of that, and have found king, red, silver and pink salmon all to work nicely. For environmental reasons, we don’t use Atlantic salmon.

Ingredients & Directions for Salmon Spread (makes 2 sandwiches)

In a bowl, combine.

Taste for salt and seasoning and set aside.

Ingredients & Directions for Avocado Spread

In a bowl, combine:

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle based spice mix
  • a little Cholula Chili Lime or similar hot sauce

Spread the two spreads on a toasted bun. Serve with tangy beverage such as sparkling water with a slice of lemon or a crisp ale.

Silver Salmon For Lovers

salmon for lovers n

The pleasant tanginess of homemade crème fraîche, lemon and leeks harmonize with the buttery richness of wild caught Alaskan Coho salmon presented on a bed of homemade egg noodles. Light candles, play soft music, pop a cork and serve.

Crème fraîche is not available at our local Native store. No problem. We simply mixed two cups of heavy cream, two tablespoons of our homemade plain yogurt and let the mixture sit for 24 hours at room temperature and, voilà, we had crème fraîche.

The leeks in this dish seem to suggest springtime. Endless variations are possible. The lobster base in the sauce lends itself to pairing the salmon fillet with a lobster tail or claw, shrimp or even scallops; freshly picked, lightly sautéed fiddlehead ferns would make a nice addition, as would fresh mushrooms, a sprig of fennel, and so on. Because farmed salmon is environmentally harmful (regardless of what those who profit from that industry might say), if wild salmon is not available we suggest Arctic char (farmed or wild), trout or halibut. Remember, if the salmon in the market does not specifically say “wild” or “wild-caught,” it is farmed, and we urge that it be avoided.

Silver Salmon For Lovers


  • 2 portions pasta of your choice
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 leek, cleaned and chopped moderately coarse
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup broth made from Better than Bouillon lobster bouillon or similar lobster base
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup crème fraîche
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon, crushed
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 lb salmon fillet, cut into 2 pieces


  1. Cook pasta according to directions. While pasta is cooking prepare sauce and salmon.
  2. Melt butter in large pan over medium heat. Add olive oil.
  3. Sauté chopped leek until softened, about 6 minutes.
  4. Season with salt.
  5. Pour lobster stock and lemon juice on leeks. Bring to a boil while stirring in order to deglaze pan. Let sauce reduce until it is nearly all evaporated.
  6. Stir in crème fraîche, tarragon, mustard and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Reduce heat to low and bring sauce to a simmer.
  7. Add salmon fillets to pan.
  8. Cover pan and allow salmon to cook in sauce for approximately 5 – 8 minutes. White-colored fat on top of salmon indicates it’s cooked.
  9. Divide pasta on 2 plates. Spoon sauce onto pasta. Place salmon atop sauce. Garnish fillets with a pinch of cayenne.
  10. Light a couple of taper candles, pour two glasses of buttery chardonnay and enjoy the meal with someone special.

Alaskan Seafood Fettuccini with Shrimp, Sea Scallops and Salmon

Freshly made fettuccine tossed in olive oil and Italian seasonings and topped with a medley of Alaskan seafood sautéed in olive oil, garlic and tarragon.

Tarragon has long been among our favorite all-around herbs for many seafood dishes, and it really shines in this simple-to-prepare entrée. Sometimes referred to as dragon’s herb or dragon’s-wort, tarragon adds a gentle sweetness that hints at anise or fennel, but is more subtle.

The basic dish evolved from a piece of advice an older gentleman – an immigrant from Italy – shared with me some years ago when he observed that in his opinion the best tasting and easiest pasta dish is made by sautéing chopped garlic in olive oil and tossing the pasta in that and nothing more. Perhaps a little basil, marjoram or oregano might be added, he allowed.

In this dish, I’ve added chopped sweet onion, tomatoes and three kinds of seafood to the olive oil and garlic. Tarragon, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper flavor the seafood. When I lived in South Carolina, I used to make this dish with white shrimp which I was able to cast a net for, and instead of salmon, I used freshly caught striped bass or pompano.

For two servings:

Pasta Ingredients

  • pasta for two people (fettuccini, angel hair or spaghetti)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or 1 tbsp fresh
  • 1 tsp dried basil or 1 tbsp fresh
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  1. Cook pasta according to directions.
  2. Drain pasta. Place in large bowl. Add olive oil and herbs and toss.
Seafood Ingredients
  • equal portions of wild salmon fillet (skin removed, or not), sea scallops and shrimp. Use about 1/4 pound seafood per person or slightly more.
  • 1/4 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 3/4 cup diced tomatoes, canned or fresh, seeds removed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dried tarragon or 3 tbsp fresh
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Cut salmon into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch cubes. Slice sea scallops into 3 or 4 slices. Peel and devein shrimp.
  2. In a bowl, mix together seafood, garlic, tarragon, sea salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Add olive oil to a frying pan and heat over medium-high heat.
  4. Add onions and cook for two minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add remaining ingredients. Stir frequently for about 1 1/2 to 3 minutes. Avoid overcooking. (Remember: seafood will continue cooking after being removed from heat.)
  6. Serve pasta. Top with seafood medley.
  7. Add additional ground pepper, grated Parmesan, pine nuts or a sprig of fresh tarragon.

Enjoy this with a crisp, well-chilled sauvignon blanc.

Alaskan Chinook Salmon En Papillote

Salmon Challenge #5: Wild Alaskan Chinook en papillote (in parchment paper) on mushroom-pine nut purée and garnished with Alaskan shrimp.

I got the idea for this recipe in A. J. McClane’s North American Fish Cookery, a thin volume of just over 100 fish and shellfish recipes. In his day, McClane was perhaps the most well-known contemporary name in angling literature and journalism and was a gourmet chef to boot. Now 31 years old, this book is very much worth having if you can find a copy. McClane used petrale sole in the original recipe. Salmon was the first of several modifications I made. I would have loved to have had sherry for the mushroom-pine nut purée, but the miso soup used instead gave it a very nice flavor.

To make two servings you will need two oven-proof plates and two sheets of parchment paper large enough to cover the plates. A pair of charger plates to set the hot plates on when they come out of the oven are a nice touch.


  • 3/4 pound fillet of wild salmon, cut in half. Skin on or off is cook’s choice. I leave the skin on in virtually all recipes.
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, chopped coarse
  • 1/2 cup sweet onions, chopped coarse
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup miso soup flavored fairly strong
  • 1/2 tablespoon dry tarragon
  • ground black pepper
  • sea salt
  • soy sauce
  • sherry (optional – to add to mushroom-pine nut purée while sautéing).
  • carrot sliced into julienne strips – enough to place a few on each fillet without overwhelming the fish
  • shrimp peeled and deveined, 2 to 5 for each fillet, depending on size of shrimp. Other garnishes could include thinly sliced lemon, julienne squash, shellfish (small oysters, shrimp, scallops, mussels, crab meat), or fresh herbs

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

2. Rinse the salmon fillets, pat dry with paper towels, sprinkle with ground pepper and sea salt and set aside.

3. Very briefly sauté the julienne carrots in olive oil and a little soy sauce, stirring continuously till just limp but still crunchy. Remove from skillet and set aside.

4. Prepare 1/2 cup of strong miso soup and set aside.

5. Place about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for a minute or two. Add the mushrooms, garlic, pine nuts, tarragon, a few grinds of pepper and sea salt. Add the miso soup. Sauté till liquid is mostly evaporated and ingredients are cooked through. Set aside.

6. Purée the mushroom-pine nut mixture in a food processor or blender. If more liquid is needed, add a small amount of water and olive oil.

7. Arrange one sheet of parchment paper on each ovenproof plate and put a little olive oil in the center (where the purée will go) to prevent sticking.

8. Spread half the purée on each sheet of parchment paper. Place salmon fillets atop the purée. Top the salmon with julienne carrots and shrimp.

9. Seal parchment paper by crimping or folding ends together and folding under.

10. Bake on plates on center rack for 20 minutes.

Try this exceptionally flavorful entrée with a glass of Champagne.

If you like this post you might also like:

Salmon Calzone

Wild Alaska Sesame Seed Salmon

Alaska Silver Salmon Pizza

Salmon Burgers with Caesar Slaw

Wild Alaska Salmon Lox

Salmon Pesto Ravioli

Salmon Calzone

Number four in the Salmon Recipe Challenge. Savory salmon in a creamy cheese mixture enhanced with red bell peppers and spinach; all neatly wrapped in a warm Parmesan crust.

The salmon challenge was intended for Jack. After all, he is the master chef. But after a night of studying (I’m going for a master’s in education technology), I relaxed by surfing cooking and baking blogs where I came across a photo of a delicious-looking calzone. “Wouldn’t a salmon stuffed calzone be divine?” I thought.

I would start this recipe by saying that we dusted off our favorite mechanical kitchen device, our Zojirushi bread machine, but the truth is this machine never has time to collect dust. We use it once a week on slow weeks and more frequently than that on most weeks. We love our Zojirushi bread machine so much that we wrote a review on it for the company from which we bought it. Among the advantages a good bread machine offers is that it solves the often vexing problem of having the right environment for dough to rise.

The calzone dough is a standard pizza dough recipe adapted from the book 300 Best Bread Machine Recipes by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt.

Dough Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 nonfat dry milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tsp yeast
  1. Measure ingredients into baking pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle.
  2. Remove dough to a lightly floured board. Cover with a large inverted bowl and let rest for 10 – 15 minutes. Divide dough into 10 portions. Roll out each into a 6-inch circle and let rest.
  3. Prepare filling.
Filling Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 generous handfuls of fresh spinach, cleaned and stemmed
  • 1 fillet salmon, approximately a pound
  • 8-oz. brick of cream cheese, softened (simply leave out at room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Swiss cheese
  • 2 tsp dry tarragon
  • 2 tsp dry oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

4. In medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 4 – 5 minutes. Add bell pepper; sauté for 3 – 4 minutes until crisp-tender. Add garlic and spinach and cook until spinach is wilted. Set aside.

5. Season salmon with salt and pepper. I also added a garlic herb mix. Broil salmon, skin side down. After salmon cools, flake salmon and set aside.
6. In large bowl, beat cream cheese until soft and fluffy. Gradually add ricotta cheese, beating until combined. Stir in onion mixture, tarragon, oregano, salt and pepper, then add Swiss cheese and flaked salmon.

7.  Place filling on one half of each circle. Fold calzone over, sealing the edges tightly with your fingertips making a scalloped edge. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in volume, 30 – 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

8. When calzones are formed, brush with 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sprinkle with 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

9. Bake in preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the calzones sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

These calzones were terrific out of the oven. They make great lunches, too.

Wild Alaska Sesame Seed Salmon

This is Recipe #3 of 9 in Barbra’s Salmon Challenge series. The spotted seal ohashi-oki (chopstick rest) was made by an artist in Shishmaref of walrus ivory and baleen.

I’m not sure why I mailed as many containers of sesame seeds to the bush as I did this year, but we have them in abundance. And we have lots of salmon. So…

This dish is easy to whip up, invites seasoning substitutions and additions, is visually attractive and really tasty. The other nice thing about this dish is that the crunch and flavor combinations lend themselves to accompaniment by a wide variety of condiments, from Japanese and Chinese dipping sauces to tartar sauce to a simple squeeze of lemon. Whatever you serve them with, they’re bound to disappear quickly.


  • 3/4 pound salmon filet cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes – skin on or skin off, cook’s preference (I left the skin on)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Saltine crackers, crushed fine
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered ginger
  • 5 tablespoons sesame seeds (light or dark or for an attractive presentation, both)
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • approx. 1 1/2 quarts oil for deep frying (I used light olive oil)

1. Season the salmon cubes with sea salt and pepper and set aside.

2. In a glass bowl, mix together the sesame seeds and the crushed crackers.

3. In a Ziplock bag, mix together the flour and the ginger.

4. In a pan on the stovetop or in a deep fat fryer, heat oil to about 350 – 375 degrees. (I heat oil on a stovetop and check for readiness by dropping in a pinch of damp cracker crumbs. The crumbs will bubble fairly vigorously when the oil is ready. Don’t let the oil overheat or smoke).

5. Set oven on low “warm” heat.

6. Place 2 – 3 salmon cubes in the Ziplock bag and shake till thoroughly dredged with flour. Using tongs or chopsticks, coat the dredged cubes in egg, then roll them in the sesame seed & cracker mixture. Set aside. Repeat till all salmon cubes are coated with sesame seed & cracker mixture.

7. Place salmon cubes in hot oil, a few at a time. Oil should roil fairly vigorously around the cubes. Fry for about 2 minutes. If cubes begin to rise to the surface, you may be cooking them too long. Place cooked cubes on a plate covered with a paper towel to drain oil and keep warm in oven set on low heat.

8. Serve with fresh lemon wedges, tarter sauce, or other dipping sauce.

Serves 2 – 3. I found myself craving a hefeweizen with these.