Food & Drink

Spiced butter brings out best in broiled salmon

Searing and broiling is one of the best ways to cook a salmon fillet.
Searing and broiling is one of the best ways to cook a salmon fillet. COCO MORANTE

Broiled salmon is one of the all-time great weeknight meals – the effort-to-deliciousness ratio really can’t be beat.

There are plenty of ways to cook up a salmon fillet, and searing and broiling is one of the best. The first step, searing, gives the fish a nice crispy bottom. Then a quick trip under the broiler finishes the cooking in just a couple minutes. There’s no flipping or nudging required. Once you’ve laid the fish down in the hot pan, it does its thing without any fuss.

To keep the fish from sticking to the skillet, make sure you wait until the oil is hot before you lay down the fillets. As the oil heats, it will begin to shimmer and ripple. When a tiny wisp of smoke comes up, it’s ready. Be sure to use a fairly heavy-bottomed stainless steel or cast-iron skillet. Avoid thin pans or those with wood or plastic handles. Since the pan is going under the broiler, it needs to be of the sturdy, all-metal variety.

Once your fish is finished cooking, it’s time to gild the lily with a pat of aromatic, spiced butter. I love baharat, a Middle Eastern spice blend of black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, cloves and other warming spices. But use any spice blend you might have on hand – this is your chance to use up any odds and ends you may have in the cupboard. Or you can try other spice blends, such as curry powder or garam masala for an Indian-spiced twist. Or go a little spicier with berbere or chili powder, Moroccan with ras el hanout, or go Mediterranean with za’atar.

Spiced butter is also delicious on steamed vegetables and grilled meats.

Serve your fish on a bed of rice, quinoa or any other steamed grain you like. The grain will soak up the spiced butter as it melts over the top of the fillet, making every bite a savory mouthful.

Coco Morante is a writer for TheKitchn.com. Email comments or questions to kitchn@apartmenttherapy.com.

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