Oven-Poached Salmon with Crème Fraîche and Caper Dressing
This dish is a great example of how culinary traditions can so brilliantly support health and nutrition. The pungent dill and sour citrus (two flavorings commonly served with fish) support the digestion of fats and protein. Crème fraîche is a mild cultured cream, similar to but thinner and less sour than sour cream. It contains live probiotic bacteria that support the digestion of nutrients and feed our gut flora and overall health. Crème fraîche and other fermented foods not only make the food we eat easier to digest but also feed our digestive vitality, nourishing us deeply and holistically.
This dish makes an excellent main course served alongside seasonal vegetables. It can also be served cold, with bread or crackers, as an appetizer.
Yield: 2 servings as a main course.
For the Salmon
½ lemon, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
½ cup coarsely chopped red onion
4 sprigs fresh dill
1 pound wild salmon fillet
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc
For the Dressing
2 cups (16 ounces) crème fraîche or sour cream
¼ cup capers, chopped
1 tablespoon caper juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill Salt and freshly ground black pepper Sprig of fresh dill and wedge of lemon, for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
2. Prepare the salmon: Arrange the lemon slices, half of the chopped onion, and the dill sprigs in the bottom of a glass baking dish. Sprinkle both sides of the salmon with salt and pepper and place, skin side down, in the pan. Distribute the rest of the onion and the chopped dill on top and pour the oil and wine over all. Cover the dish with a lid or aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through. In my experience, a 1½- to 2-inch-thick piece of fish will be done in about 20 minutes. To see if the fish is done, cut into the fillet to see if the center has changed from translucent to opaque — the entire cross section should be the same color throughout.
3. While the fish is cooking, prepare the dressing: Combine the crème fraîche, capers, caper juice, lemon zest, onion, and dill in a bowl and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with a sprig of fresh dill and a wedge of lemon, if desired.
4. Let the fish cool, uncovered, for at least a few minutes. Serve warm or cold, with the dressing on the side.
Excerpted from Recipes from the Herbalist’s Kitchen © by Brittany Wood Nickerson, 2017. Photography © by Keller + Keller Photography and Alexandra Grablewski. Used with permission from Storey Publishing.
This original article first appeared in the Winter 2018/19 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.