Time: 40 minutes
Prep: 25 minutes
Active time: 30 minutes
You can get away with average salmon here, but these herbs have to be fresh as can be. The good news is you can use whatever herbs you want; any combination tastes good here. You’ll need some time to prepare this, but it’s more than worth it. What looks like a very simple dish packs more flavor than you might be thinking. This is so good with the Cantina Frentana Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, but light reds with a chill work really nicely as well.
½ to ¾ Cup fresh herbs, any variety, minced, divided
2 skin-on salmon filets, about 6 ounces each
3 Tbsp grapeseed or other high smoke point oil
1 medium shallot, minced
1 Tbsp ground black pepper
Salt to taste
½ English cucumber, sliced thin
¼ red onion, sliced thin
1 Tsbp salt
2 ounces greek yogurt
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp champagne vinegar or lemon juice
½ tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
Dry the salmon filets thoroughly. Coat generously with the oil, shallot, pepper, and salt. If it seems like you used just a little too much oil, that’s the right amount. Take about a third of the minced herbs and press them firmly into the flesh side of the salmon, getting plenty on there but not crusting it. Let sit at room temperature 30 minutes.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cucumber, onion, and salt, and let sit for 10 minutes. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, oil, vinegar or lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper, and remaining herbs. Drain the cucumber thoroughly, gently pressing to remove all the liquid you can without crushing the cucumbers, and fold in the yogurt dressing until everything’s well coated. Refrigerate while you prepare the salmon.
Get a grill or grill pan as hot as you possibly can. Grill salmon flesh side down for one minute, then give it a quarter turn with a spatula and grill for one more minute to create grill marks. Flip salmon and grill skin side down for about a minute, or until the salmon is medium-rare, or about 120º on an instant read thermometer. When you can see the cut side of the salmon turning opaque almost up to the center, you’re there; if you grill it to well done, it will suck. Remove from grill and let sit at least five minutes.
Give the cucumber salad another stir, taste for flavor (add a little honey or sugar if it’s astringent), and spoon onto a plate letting some extra dressing pool around the sides. Place the rested salmon filets just off center, seasoning with a little more salt and pepper if desired, and serve.