The premise of this recipe is when you have delicious fresh fish, you don't need a lot of fancy seasonings. The onions bring out the sweetness of the salmon, as does the butter.
If you can get Copper River salmon for this dish, that would be wonderful. If not, use the freshest salmon you can find. Remember, salmon are at their best from about May through early July. (View one mail-order source for copper river salmon)
1. Rinse the salmon and pat dry. Examine for any tiny bones and remove them.
2. Heat the butter and olive oil in a 10-inch straight-sided saute pan over medium high heat. Lightly salt and pepper the fish on both sides. Slip it into the pan, skin side down. Sear for about 2 minutes.
3. Carefully turn the fish with 2 spatulas and sear for 2 minutes on the other side. Spread the onions around the fish, turn heat to medium low, cover the pan and cook about 6 minutes, turning midway through cooking, or until the salmon is just firm when pressed (the flesh should be barely opaque near the center).
4. Remove the fish from the pan and keep it warm. Turn heat to high and cook onions until limp. Add a little water (3 to 4 tablespoons) to the pan to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Pour the pan juices and onion over the salmon.
5. Serve with lemon wedges and a Pinot Noir.
Copyright 2000 Lynne Rossetto Kasper Serves 2 to 4
Andrea Reusing is the creator of the restaurant Lantern in Chapel Hill, N.C., and author of the book Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes. In this installment of The Key 3, she shares with Lynne Rossetto Kasper the techniques behind three of her favorite recipes: Turnip Soup, Overnight Braised Short Ribs and Tomato Salad.