Serves 2. Time (approx): Prep 20 min Cook 20 min
- 1-1.5 lbs salmon fillet, bones removed, cut into 2 portions
- Salt and pepper
- Avocado oil (high smoke point for searing)
- Spice mixture (equal parts smoked paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, white pepper, oregano and thyme, depending on how much you want to make- can save for later in airtight container if making more than required for this recipe)
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 Smashed garlic cloves
- 2-3 Sprigs thyme
- Lemon wedges
- One bunch of asparagus
- 1 tsp Olive oil
- 2 tbsp chopped shallot
- 1 tbsp Butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring pot of water to boil, add salt.
- Wash asparagus. Snap off and chop into 1 inch pieces.
- Prepare an ice bath for asparagus after blanching (large bowl with ice and water).
- Add asparagus to hot water for 2-3 minutes to cook. Remove and drain. Toss into ice bath to stop cooking process. Allow to chill a bit in there, then drain again and remove ice (see slideshow below for photo).
- Combine various spices listed above in small bowl to create spice mixture (see slideshow below).
- To prepare salmon, cut into two portions (should be deboned either before you bought it at the store or you might have to do it- you will need sterile tweezers). Rinse fillets with cold water and dry thoroughly/completely (very important step prior to searing to avoid oil+water splatter burns).
- Gently score salmon skin with sharp knife 3-4 times horizontally to allow proper cooking when searing.
- Season both sides with salt and pepper generously.
- If you haven’t seared much in the past, get yourself ready my friend. Gear up for a rip roaring ride of quick, fast, hot cooking to achieve an amazingly delicious result. Chefs can do this in their sleep but I am not a Chef, most people aren’t- so its kinda like an adrenaline rush hoping you don’t ruin the meal.
- Place nonstick pan on stove. Add avocado oil, allow to heat up over medium-high to high. However, if oil starts smoking all throughout the room excessively? Too much.
- Oil should be very hot but not too much smoke to achieve a good salmon sear. Add salmon skin side up, flesh side down and sear for 1-2 minutes, flip and sear for 1-2 minutes (depending on thickness of salmon). Remove from pan to plate and season with spice mixture on top only. When seasoning salmon with spice mixture, a moderate, even coat is a good goal (less if you don’t love spice, more if you do).
- Season drained asparagus with salt and pepper.
- Heat sauté pan with olive oil over medium-low heat.
- Add shallots and cook about 1-2 minutes, no notable browning of shallots should occur. You can add some garlic if you wish for added flavor. Stir frequently to ensure even incorporation of flavor into oil and to avoid overcooking.
- Add butter and asparagus, sauté until desired consistency. I cook until heated through (after blanching)because I like tender crisp. Hey, if you like more mushy- keep cooking! No shame in that, to each their own!
- Once done, remove from heat, stir, taste and season with salt and pepper. Top with lid to keep warmth in.
- Heat sauté pan over medium-low heat, add olive oil, butter, thyme sprigs and garlic cloves. Cook for a bit to impart flavor (see slideshow below).
- Add salmon, skin side down. Can reduce heat to low if your stove runs hot (i.e. avoid browning garlic and thyme).
- Alternate cooking normally on burner vs tilting pan while spooning butter, oil, garlic, thyme mixture (butter-basting) over salmon to finalize cooking after initial searing about 5-6 minutes (or more/less, depending on thickness of salmon). Fish should be slightly crispy on outside (covered in butter mixture) and ever so slightly opaque in the center of the thickest part. You have a lot of room to move with salmon due to the relatively high natural oil content compared to other fish so there is wiggle room (plus you are covering it in butter).
Transfer salmon and asparagus to plates and serve with lemon. This meal pairs well with a glass of crisp, balanced Chardonnay. The toasted oak and citrus in the wine compliments the spice characteristics of this seared salmon recipe.