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Think for a moment about your favorite recipes. Where did they come from? Are they from a long-loved cookbook that you've had for years? Are they part of your family folk lore? Or did you make them up yourself?
I love to cook! In my recipe repertoire are countless amazing meals prepared by my mother. But mom was not very adventuresome when it came to cooking. Simple meat and potatoes and "normal" vegetables were served in our kitchen. It wasn't until I moved away from home that I discovered the wonders of shellfish, couscous, mushrooms, and a wealth of vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts to name a few).
Once I broke away from the meat-and-potatoes framework, I started to really enjoy cooking. And I wanted to share my new-found experience with others. So I began submitting my "new creations" to cooking magazines (Sunset, Cooking Light, etc.).
Several years ago I entered a recipe contest—the requirement was that we focus on local ingredients. My family and I live in the Pacific Northwest. so I chose salmon and hazelnuts—both plentiful in our area.
Atlantic salmon are farm-raised, but Pacific salmon are wild-caught. There are five species of Pacific salmon: king (which some think is the best-tasting because of its high fat content), sockeye with its bright orange-red flesh, Coho (silver) salmon, humpback (pink) salmon which is light colored and much lower in fat, and chum salmon. We prefer King and sockeye.
Hazelnuts are also known as filberts. Although Turkey is the largest producer of hazelnuts in the world, Oregon state produces 99 percent of the hazelnuts in the United States. We are lucky enough to have 20 wild hazelnuts trees on our property.
I have received many favorable comments about this recipe. Although it makes a beautiful presentation for a company dinner it is easy enough to prepare for your family. Mayonnaise might seem an odd accompaniment to salmon, but it keeps the flesh moist. Citrus is a common complement to seafood, and so orange marmalade and zest seemed a natural addition. Hazelnuts provide a contrasting crunch to the softness of the salmon flesh. Other nut meats could probably be used as well—almonds, walnuts, or pecans.
Equipment you will need
- a sharp knife and cutting board for cutting salmon into 4 pieces
- parchment paper
- baking sheet
- small mixing bowl
- spoon or rubber scraper for mixing ingredients
- 1 pound salmon filet, cut into 4 equal-size pieces
- non-stick cooking spray
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise, (I used fat-free)
- 1 tablespoon orange marmalade, minced
- 2 tsp. fresh tarragon, minced
- 1/2 tsp. fresh orange zest
- 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet; spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
- Place salmon pieces, skin-side down, on parchment.
- Mix together mayonnaise, marmalade, orange zest, and tarragon in small mixing bowl. Using spoon or rubber scraper spread equal amounts of mayo/marmalade mixture over each of the 4 salmon pieces.
- Sprinkle hazelnuts on top of mayonnaise mixture; and then season each salmon piece with salt and pepper.
- Bake in preheated over about 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork.
© 2011 Linda Lum