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Salmon with Leek and Rice Stuffing

Salmon with Leek and Rice Stuffing
This dish roasts in just under an hour and is delicious served hot straight from the oven, or cold the next day with a lemony homemade mayonnaise or an Italian salsa verde. Pacific king salmon and Atlantic salmon are full-flavored varieties available in large pieces. Ask the fishmonger to remove the scales, fins and rib bones from the piece of fish, but to leave the backbone, skin and belly flaps in place.

Ingredients:

For the stuffing:

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. reduced-sodium
      chicken stock
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup medium-grain or long-grain white rice
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 leek, white portion only, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh chives
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 center-cut piece salmon of uniform thickness,
      about 3 lb.
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for coating salmon
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 large lemon
  • 3 or 4 fresh tarragon sprigs
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

Directions:

To make the stuffing, in a small saucepan over high heat, combine the stock and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Add the rice, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, about 18 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a fry pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the leek and sauté, stirring frequently, until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

When the rice is ready, add it to the leek mixture and mix well. Let cool to room temperature. Stir in the parsley, chives, tarragon and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat an oven to 400°F. Generously oil the bottom of a shallow roasting pan just large enough to hold the salmon.

Run your fingers lightly over the surface of the fish to locate any pin bones and remove them with tweezers or small needle-nosed pliers. Rinse the fish and pat dry with paper towels. Season the cavity with salt and pepper. Spoon the rice mixture into the cavity, taking care not to pack it too tightly. Tie 3 pieces of kitchen twine around the width of the fish, spacing them evenly, to secure the stuffing in place. Brush or rub the skin with olive oil.

Cut the onion into slices 1/2 inch thick. Thinly slice the lemon. Arrange the onion and lemon slices in the prepared pan. Place the salmon on the onion-lemon bed, scatter the tarragon around the fish and pour the wine into the bottom of the pan.

Roast the salmon, basting 1 or 2 times with the pan juices, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the fish, away from the backbone, registers 140°F, or the fish flakes when a knife is inserted into the thickest part, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer the salmon to a large platter and tent with aluminum foil. Let rest for 15 minutes.

To serve, remove the strings. Cut the salmon into slices 1 inch wide and transfer to warmed individual plates. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Roasting, by Rick Rodgers, Melanie Barnard & Bob & Colleen Simmons (Oxmoor House, 2004).