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Adapting Roasted Salmon Recipe


silentbob
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I'm looking to make this for a dinner party and have some questions:

1) The recipe calls for a "whole side of salmon (about 4 pounds), boned tail piece, skin on" -- are the wild Coho salmon filets that Whole Foods currently has on sale an adequate substitute? I don't know if there's a significant difference between the tail piece and the filet when it comes to taste or preparation. Also, I don't even know if the salmon filets at WF are skin on, and the recipe instructs us to score the fish in four places on the skin. So if the WF filets are skinless, does that mean that I don't need to score the fish?

2) The bed of vegetables includes fennel. I don't like fennel. What are potentially adequate substitutes?

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I'm looking to make this for a dinner party and have some questions:

1) The recipe calls for a "whole side of salmon (about 4 pounds), boned tail piece, skin on" -- are the wild Coho salmon filets that Whole Foods currently has on sale an adequate substitute? I don't know if there's a significant difference between the tail piece and the filet when it comes to taste or preparation. Also, I don't even know if the salmon filets at WF are skin on, and the recipe instructs us to score the fish in four places on the skin. So if the WF filets are skinless, does that mean that I don't need to score the fish?

2) The bed of vegetables includes fennel. I don't like fennel. What are potentially adequate substitutes?

1) Since he doesn't specify the type of salmon, assume he is referring to the most widely available type, which is farmed. A 4-pound "whole" side is not a whole fish, it is a side--which is 1/2 a whole fish. And if the side is 4 pounds, it is more than just a tail piece--particularly since he has already said it is the "whole side." Very confusing. The tail end of a filet is much thinner than the portion closer to the head of the fish. This makes a difference in terms of cooking time. You could certainly roast skinless pieces of fish or skinless filets instead, just skip the steps where he slashes the skin and then broils it to crisp the skin. Farmed salmon is a lot more fatty than wild. It is even more critical to avoid overcooking wild salmon. It may not take as much time as he calls for, to cook wild coho filets, especially in a hot oven. So I wouldn't use strict time--more keep an eye on it and as soon as it is no longer opaque at the top of the filet, and the white "juices" appear at the top, pull it out and press with your finger. If it is still mushy, give it another minute or so. If it feels firm, get it out of the oven.

2) The bed of vegetables is basically a simple ratatouille, but with fennel instead of peppers. Substitute roasted, peeled red bell pepper for the fennel, and call your vegetable bed by its proper name. Be sure to include some lemon zest and juice.

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1) The recipe calls for a "whole side of salmon (about 4 pounds), boned tail piece, skin on" -- are the wild Coho salmon filets that Whole Foods currently has on sale an adequate substitute? I don't know if there's a significant difference between the tail piece and the filet when it comes to taste or preparation. Also, I don't even know if the salmon filets at WF are skin on, and the recipe instructs us to score the fish in four places on the skin. So if the WF filets are skinless, does that mean that I don't need to score the fish?

The coho filets that I've gotten in the past at WF have always been skin-on. They also seem to be relatively small as salmon goes, so I don't think a "whole side" of the coho I've gotten at WF would get you anywhere near four pounds. As Zora suggests, they tend to be thin and cook *very* quickly. Keep an eye on 'em, or you'll be stuck with cat food.

As an alternative, can I suggest that you try to swing by Black Salt? I've stopped buying salmon at WF because Black Salt simply has better tasting salmon at just about the same price (plus, I get to support a locally owned operation). And the fish mongers at Black Salt are always very helpful in answering any cooking questions.

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2) The bed of vegetables is basically a simple ratatouille, but with fennel instead of peppers. Substitute roasted, peeled red bell pepper for the fennel, and call your vegetable bed by its proper name. Be sure to include some lemon zest and juice.

Yes, if I remember correctly, Tyler referred to it as a variant of ratatouille in the TV episode but for some reason it isn't described as such online.

I'll definitely look into Blacksalt. Is their selection of salmon large enough that I don't need to worry about availability of the right-sized piece, or is calling ahead advisable?

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I'll definitely look into Blacksalt. Is their selection of salmon large enough that I don't need to worry about availability of the right-sized piece, or is calling ahead advisable?

I've never been there when they've not had salmon and pretty big pieces of it. They do have different price points of salmon with one being in the same price range as WF (it's the salmon they carry from British Columbia). The others are more expensive types of salmon. So, it might be worth calling ahead and asking them to put something aside for you.

I have called ahead before and found them to be very helpful and willing to put stuff aside. In one case, they actually called me to tell me to come pick up my fish later than I had initially planned because they were going to have fresher stuff later in the day. How's that for service?

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