I realized that yesterday afternoon that it was valentines, and so I should probably do something particularly tasty and different for dinner. Fortunately, I had some salmon in the freezer so I could just toss something together. Normally I do salmon super simple. I always do it in a foil packet (keeps it nice and moist), but I usually just do salt, pepper, butter, and lemon slices and/or juice (with maybe some thyme or rosemary). It is always delicious that way. But I wanted something different last night (and I didn’t have any lemon). I knew that just straight honey would be way too sweet and thick, and salmon is always good with some acid to brighten it up. So instead of lemon juice I went with cooking sherry and red wine vinegar and it was the perfect combination of tangy and sweet and savory. What is better–this recipe is simple, quick, and tasty.
Rosemary is easily my favorite herb (though basil and sage give it a good run for its money). Rosemary also has an emotional component in my memory. It is strange how smells can invoke memories and emotions. I spent a semester in DC my senior year in college. I am from the country. There is nothing between the front porch of my parent’s house and the sun set but mesas, some cows, and a windmill. I even went to college in a small town. So actually living in a big city for months was a shock. All the concrete and metal and sidewalks made DC feel like it wasn’t a human place–it was a place for cold robots or something. I had a good long walk from my subway stop to my internship that I enjoyed. A month or so into my time it finally rained. I walked by a big rosemary bush that someone planted in a small bit of dirt between the sidewalk and the building. The smell after the rain was divine, it was the first time the city felt somewhat human. That didn’t eliminate my homesickness, but it did make me feel much better.
Rosemary is native to the mediterranean. As my planting instructions tell me, remember that it usually clings to rocky slopes without much rain. In fact, the name is a lovely derivation of the latin words ros (for dew) and marinus (for sea), because it often grows in places that the only water is the spray from the sea. It is a very hearty plant, a perennial evergreen. That makes it lovely to have in the winter in your window sill, and capable of lasting a long time if you treat it well. I was surprised when I first started to grow it that the branches of the shrub are wooden. You have to take scissors out to harvest it. If you plant it outside (if you live in a fairly moderate climate) It can grow to a height of 5 feet, and you can even cut it into topiary shapes. It is said that when Aphrodite rose from the sea she was covered in rosemary. The Virgin Mary is also associated with it because it is said that she once spread her cloak on a rosemary bush and the normally while flowers turned blue. I highly recommend that all cooks have a small rosemary bush to bring inside during the winter–you can’t beat fresh rosemary.
Honey Rosemary Salmon
- 2 salmon filets
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp cooking sherry
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 at high altitude, 350 at medium to low altitude.
- In a small bowl whisk together the honey, sherry, vinegar, rosemary, and salt and pepper. Take a taste. It will smell very vinegary, but taste quite sweet. Adjust the honey and salt to your taste.
- Set the filet on a large piece of aluminum foil. Start to make the foil into a packet. First take the long sides and fold like a taco so they meet at the top. Give it just one roll over. Then roll in your short sides until they are tightly around the fish. Open the top and pour in half of your honey mixture. The mix will be quite runny, that is why I went ahead and folded it all up–so it doesn’t run away. Finish folding so that steam doesn’t escape. Repeat with the other filet.
- Once the oven is preheated, bake for about 10 min, or until the fish flakes easily in the middle.
- Enjoy with some dark green leafies.