Wild Salmon & Walnut Oil-Fried Sage Gremolata

Wild Salmon & Walnut Oil-Fried Sage Gremolata

A recipe by Melina Hammer

Serves 2-4

-1 lb sockeye salmon, pin bones removed and cut into 2 segments
-1 Meyer lemon, cut in half horizontally
-2 tbsp walnut oil
-1 tbsp butter

for the gremolata
-1 handful fresh sage leaves
finely grated zest from 3 lemons
-2 small Meyer lemons, peeled and sliced into very thin strips
-1 tablespoon finely sliced garlic scapes
-1 teaspoon finely sliced garlic chives
-5 tbsp walnut oil
sea salt + freshly ground pepper

To Prepare 
In a small bowl, toss together lemon zest and strips, garlic scapes and chives, and season with s&p.

Pat salmon dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Let sit at room temperature while you fry the sage.

Pour 2 tablespoons walnut oil into a medium heavy bottomed sauté pan and heat until shimmering. Pan fry sage leaves no more than three minutes, turning once. The leaves should remain a bright green through the process. Drain, then set aside onto absorbent paper.

To sear salmon, heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. And walnut oil, wait until it shimmers, then add fish skin-side down. Sear for 3 minutes or until the flesh shows cooked (lighter pink) around the edges. Turn the fish and add the butter. As butter foams, tilt pan and baste salmon with the hot fat, cooking for another minute. Remove salmon from heat and transfer to a serving platter.

Sear lemon halves on medium-high heat in the remaining butter-walnut oil mixture, 3 minutes or until charred to your liking.

Pile fried sage leaves, layering with the gremolata mixture onto the salmon, and serve seared lemons along side.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve at once.
Notes from Melina: This recipe is about using what you have available as much as it is about the bounty of the season. 
On a recent visit to my community garden I snipped a few garlic chives for "something later", and already had garlic scapes from a previous run to the farmers market, waiting to be used. If you have neither, substitute minced garlic - about half the amount, given its greater pungency. I also like the mild and sweet quality Meyer lemons add to the dish and used some I stowed in my luggage, from a few plucked from neighborhood trees on a trip to San Fransisco. If you cannot get Meyer lemons, use the same amount of organic lemons. There is no comparison to the flavor of wild salmon, and sockeye is one of my favorites! 


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