I was pleased as punch when the great Food 52 told me they were going to feature my Slow Roasted Salmon recipe as a GENIUS recipe. Their words: “The most foolproof way to cook any fish—and a petition for a new cooking term” since slow-roasting fish can take as little as 15 minutes.
I learned the dead-simple technique for salmon over 20 years ago. The fish was so succulent and moist, I asked, ‘What if I applied it to other fish?’ and tested them out to discover that the technique works great for all sorts of fish and shellfish—from striped bass and cod to sea scallops to fish steaks like tuna and swordfish.
You’ll find the recipe at Food 52 along with beautiful, step-by-step pictures of the process.
Over the years, it’s proven to be an essential technique I’ve riffed on endlessly. You slow-roast the fish THEN embellish it any way you want or with whatever is on hand; therein lies the opportunity to improvise. (I devoted a whole chapter to slow-roasting improvisations in The Improvisational Cook.)
Just about any fish goes well with Roger Vergé’s Fab Citrus and Olive Oil Sauce, Yogurt Sauce With Toasted Spices, Lime Peel And Basil or a drizzle of a simple flavored oil like chive or fennel seed is great.
There are all sorts of “beds” you can lay the fish on, from mashed potatoes to ratatouille to fresh corn polenta …
To apply the method to other fish, simply adjust the cooking time, anywhere between 15 and 35 minutes. Roast until a two-pronged kitchen fork inserted in the thickest part of the fish meets with no resistance, the flesh separates easily from the skin, and is just beginning to flake when you poke into it. An instant-read thermometer should read 120° F. (Don’t worry if the top of the fish has a slightly transparent, raw look; this is the result of the low roasting temperature. It will be cooked inside.)
**Be sure to let the fish come to room temperature abou 20 minutes before cooking.
Slow roasting is far and away the best technique for making cold salmon, and way easier than classic poaching.
Thanks Food 52!