Simple Salmon: A Northwest Staple

Simple Salmon

I have often considered January as my month of reprieve. The month to look inward. To self-reflect. The month where time slows down. A bit.

This doesn’t seem to be the case any longer.

January is just as high-paced as any other month and it feeds right into February which is missing a few days and that hardly seems fair since I’m counting on every single day to get things done.

Sometimes I want to blame this on the kids. Trying to keep up with their ever-increasingly crowded schedules. Driving them where they need to be. But is it really them?

Sunlight on raindrops...

Or is it that every January I set loftier and loftier goals for myself? Which on some level is a good thing. Right? Especially considering that my quote for 2011 is “A goal without a plan is just a dream.”

But how many goals are realistic? And when do those excess goals lead to “To Do lists” five pages long? And what does it say about me that one of those To Dos is: “Schedule afternoons in March to teach 5-year-old to ride a two-wheeler”?

And all of these goals and To Dos lead to craziness piggy-backing on more craziness.

Which in my case always leads to over-thinking…things, life, kids, goals, recipes.

A little pot of tea....

As I was setting up my Recipe Index last week, I realized that not one recipe for salmon graced that list. Salmon. A staple my family eats at least every other week, if not once a week. A quick and delicious preparation, perfect for a weeknight, that I never give a thought about. I forget about it. It’s simplicity…in my rush to seemingly over-complicate my life.

And so this week, I leave you with a simple post. An effortless recipe for salmon. As well as an image of raindrops hanging heavy on winter branches which I forced myself to go outside and notice. And a picture of a pot of my new favorite tea I wish I could share with you. (Harney & Sons Paris Tea, of course.)

Simple Salmon Take 2

A Simple Preparation for Salmon: A Northwest Staple

Simple Stove-To-Oven Salmon with Tomato and Shallot Compote
Course: Dinner
Serves: 4 fillets
I believe my love for salmon stems from spending most of my life in the Pacific Northwest. My childhood spent on boats in the Puget Sound fishing for salmon that my father later grilled up with onions and lemon slices. For appetizers, my mother always laid out smoked salmon with cream cheese. During the summer, I prefer to grill it but in spring, at the start of salmon season when it's raining outside, I use this stove-to-oven method. Sometimes, when I forget to keep things simple, I make a little compote of shallots and tomatoes to spoon on top.
For Salmon
  • 4 salmon fillets of roughly the same size and thickness
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
For Tomato and Shallot Compote
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed, stems discarded
Preheat your over to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, heat a dry, ovenproof sauté pan on the stove over high heat until it's piping hot. I love my cast iron pan for this. Brush all sides of your salmon pieces with olive oil. Liberally season the skinless top and sides with salt and pepper.
When your pan is piping hot, place the salmon fillets. flesh side down, in your pan and let them cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Don't move them. Don't touch them. You want to sear the tops of your fillets so they develop a nice crust. Carefully flip your fillets over, trying not to break the crust, then pop the pan in the oven for 5 to 7 more minutes or until the salmon flakes easily with a fork but is still moist. The salmon will continue to cook even when its out of the oven, so better to pull it out a smidge early rather than too late. Insert a metal spatula in between the flesh and the skin. Your salmon should slip right onto your spatula, leaving the skin behind.
Tomato and Shallot Compote
Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the shallots and the salt and pepper and cook over low heat for 5-6 minutes or until the shallots are beginning to soften. Add your tomatoes and the thyme leaves and cook another 4-5 minutes until softened. Spoon the warm compote on top of your salmon fillets.


Valentine’s Menu Ideas
Just in case you like to prepare a little something extra special for Valentine’s Day, here are some ideas:

Pita Pizzas with Caramelized Onions, Dried Cherries and Gruyere

Main Course: 
Simmering Ragu over spaghetti, Caeser salad, fresh bakery bread

Rustic Pear Tart
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies with Pecans and Dried Cherries and a scoop of vanilla ice cream

Organizing Project

All right, I’m just going to come out with it. The “toy closet” organizing project isn’t, ahem, going too well. It’s still in its halfway done stage where I left it back here. I have instead been working on organizing my To Dos in Things. It’s heavenly. Doesn’t that count for something? 


  1. Courtney Cook Hopp says:

    Stop the craziness! I've been to-doing, and I don't want to be! And we must be surfing on the same vibe, as we just had salmon two nights ago accompanied by a pot of steamed mussels!

  2. Yum Yum and YUM!!
    My tummy rumbled
    the moment I saw
    this meal! Lovely
    photos! 😀

  3. Strawberry CAKE says:

    We Love salmon in our home. I never fix it in the winter though…not sure why. I always grill it in tin foil pouches with vegi's. Thanks for the reminder that I can eat salmon in the winter. Yours looks fabulous! xoxo

  4. Sister-Steamed mussels along with the salmon?? I'm impressed….

    kat – Thank you dear.

    Sheila – Ooo…I hope you try some "winter" salmon.

  5. Ruby Mattson says:

    We served the Copper River Salmon recipe /My Favorite Grilled Salmon with theTomato/Shallot compote over Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Medley for guests today. It was moist, flavorful and absolutely delicious! The rice medley was a delicious compliment to the salmon.