This salmon dish is one of my all time favorites because the best flavors of summer shine through – vine-ripe tomatoes and freshly picked basil. Plus it’s healthy, simple to prepare, and deliciously colorful. Did I mention that it also can be made ahead and is good served warm or at room temperature, making it perfect for a buffet. What more could you want in a recipe?
If you think this dish sounds familiar, it is. I first posted it two years ago and it’s still one of my most popular salmon dishes. It is truly summer at its finest and a wonderful way to say au revoir to my most favorite season of the year.
For the tomatoes I’ve used heirlooms. The deep rich color and flavor of Cherokee Purples have made it my favorite heirloom and if you pair them with little yellow pear-shaped cherries, you have a striking color combination. If you don’t have heirloom tomatoes, don’t let that stop you from making this dish. Any garden fresh tomato will work just fine. This is also the time to use the best salt you can find. French fleur de sel has a lovely crunch that goes well with the winey Cherokee Purples. This is the kind of dish you serve when tomatoes are at their peak of freshness. Otherwise, tuck it away for later. Hot house winter tomatoes just will not do in this. So hurry and make this before all of the summer tomatoes disappear.
Salmon Smothered with Tomatoes and Basil - the flavors of summer
Adapted from “Simply Shrimp, Salmon, and Fish Steaks” by Leslie Grover Pendleton and “The 60 Minute Gourmet” by Pierre Franey
1-2 vine-ripe tomatoes, depending on their size, preferably heirlooms
A handful of yellow pear-shaped cherry tomatoes
Fleur de sel (French sea salt)
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 boneless salmon fillet, about 1 ½ lbs, preferably wild caught
Grape seed oil, or any neutral flavored oil
Dice the tomato, season with fleur de sel salt and pepper and transfer it, along with all of its juices, to a bowl. Add the basil, lemon and 1 tablespoon olive oil and combine well. Let the sauce sit while preparing the salmon.
Preheat the broiler. Line a sheet pan or broiler tray with heavy-duty foil for easy clean-up. Arrange the pieces of salmon, skin side down, in one layer on the pan, drizzle with a little oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the salmon under the broiler about six to seven inches away from the source of heat. Broil (on low if you broiler has that setting) about 7 to 10 minutes or just until the pieces are cooked through. It is not necessary to turn the salmon. If it starts to burn, change from broil to bake and bake at 400 degrees until the salmon is done but still a little pink on the inside.
Remove from the oven and, when the salmon cools slightly, carefully slip the skin off with a knife and discard. Slide the salmon onto a platter, what was skin side down, and smother with the tomato and basil mixture. Let it stand for at least 10 minutes to absorb some of the tomato juices before serving. The salmon can stand at room temperature for up to 45 minutes. Serves 4.
This recipe is linked to Fresh Food Friday at La Bella Vita, Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum, and On the Menu Monday at Stone Gable. Be sure to stop by these great blogs. You’ll find lots of inspiration and delicious dishes.