This recipe began as an America’s Test Kitchen creation, but their methods were too laborious for my taste, so I completely changed how both the relish is made and the fish is cooked.
Pan-Seared Salmon with Cucumber-Ginger Relish
Serves 2 // Calories 490, Fat 37g, Protein 30g, Net Carbs 3g
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 quart water
2 (6-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets, 1 to 1½ inches thick
(1 tablespoon olive oil for cooking salmon)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup fresh mint
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 serrano chile
1/2 English cucumber (8 ounces), cut into ¼-inch pieces
Dissolve ¼ cup salt in 1 quart water in large container. Submerge salmon in brine and set a timer to let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
While the salmon is brining, make the relish. Combine all dressing ingredients—except the cucumber—in a food processor and pulse repeatedly until combined. In a medium bowl, pour the dressing over the cucumbers and set aside.
Remove salmon from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil and place the salmon filets skin-side down in the hot skillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook fillets without moving them until fat begins to render, skin begins to brown, and bottom ¼ inch of fillets turns opaque, 6 to 8 minutes.
Carefully turn the fillets over and continue to cook without moving them until centers are still translucent when checked with tip of paring knife and register 125 degrees (for medium-rare), 6 to 8 minutes.
Remove the filets to plates, spoon the relish over, and serve with Cauliflower-Almond Pilaf.