Every year in mid September, my friend Jim organizes a group of his friends to go salmon fishing off the coast of Marin, north of San Francisco. For the second year in a row, I didn’t a catch a fish; Jim however was luckier, and I lucky to be his friend as I got to take some gorgeous salmon home with me. Here is how we cooked it up today – poached in a tomato, onion, lemon, and caper sauce.
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
- 2 large fresh tomatoes, diced
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- The juice of one meyer lemon, or half a regular lemon with a teaspoon of sugar
- 2 Tbsp of capers, drained
- 1 teaspoon of chopped jalapeño peppers (no seeds, no stem, no ribs) either fresh or pickled
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup water
- Salt and pepper
- 2 fresh salmon fillets, 1/2 lb each
1 In a large, wide (at least 12 inches wide) saucepan (one that comes with a cover), heat olive oil on medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, until just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the tomatoes, thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, and jalapeño peppers. Simmer for 10 minutes, adding a little water if needed to prevent the sauce from getting too dry. Salt and pepper to taste.
2 Add 1/3 a cup of white wine - a simple Chardonnay will work. Add 1/4 cup of water. Bring to a simmer. Place the fillets in the pan on top of the sauce, skin side down, if the fillets are still in their skin. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 5-10 minutes, depending on how thick the cuts of fish are. Poke the fish with a fork and look for doneness. The fish should still be somewhat rare in the middle, but not raw. Serve immediately, with tomato sauce generously applied.