I eat salmon very occasionally because I’m a salmon snob. Anyone from the Pacific Northwest is because to us, our wild Pacific salmon is mother’s milk, the essence of life. From the noble Chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) to the humble humpie (Oncorhynchus gorbuschaa) we grow up eating it the way other people eat chicken, fiercely loyal to its magnificence.
SALMON IN FRANCE
In France, salmon is another story. We occasionally get Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) wild from the Baltic sea, but the typical salmon we see is the flabby variety from Norway, where it is raised on farms that are notorious for their size, output, and questionable additives. I never eat it. Besides no Atlantic salmon can ever measure up in either flavor or texture to any of the Pacific species’.
TARRAGON, THE MAGIC SALMON HERB
That said, when I see a slab of glistening salmon from Scotland, with its proud little Label Rouge tag which is a French signature of quality, I occasionally make an exception. Which is what happened today. I’ve been watching the tarragon shoot up in my garden, at its peppery, tender best right now. As any French person knows, salmon and tarragon are a marriage made in heaven and I couldn’t resist.
COOKING A L’UNILATERALE
I cooked the salmon on the gas grill à l’unilatérale, on the skin side. This way, the skin protects the meat from direct heat, allowing it to stay moist and buttery. An extra reward is the shattering crisp strip of skin. To finish, a bit of melted butter, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a shower of freshly minced tarragon and voila! Quite a lunch.
Come to On Rue Tatin and learn to cook all kinds of fish