Things I love about salmon: flavor, few bones, cheap-ish in whole body form, cooks quickly, leftovers make great salmon cakes. I think that’s a pretty good list.
Another thing I like about salmon is how well it plays with others. You can pair it with so many other ingredients and not lose its taste in the mix. However, acidic flavors are still the best. What do you know, I just so happened to have some things that worked perfectly when I decided to cook some salmon the other night.
Most of the time you’ll find salmon in fillet form, but every so often you can find the whole fish. Snap these up when you can, because they are perfect for stuffing with all sorts of tasty tidbits for a meal full of flavor, and they are often half the price of fillets (super bonus!).
Green olives have a more mellow taste than their black counterparts and help to keep the capers under control. I love capers, but they can quickly overwhelm any dish. They are also very salty, so don’t be tempted to head for the shaker, you really won’t need it. The two together are perfect complements for salmon, and packed inside the cavity of the fish, they all play nice and get along.
Green Olive and Caper Stuffed Salmon Recipe
For the salmon:
- 1 whole salmon, any size
- sliced green olives
- extra virgin olive oil
- dried dill
For the sauce:
- 1 Tbsp. brine from the green olives
- 1 Tbsp. brine from the capers
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp. white wine
- 1/2 tsp. dried dill
- 4 Tbsp. butter
- 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350 F. Rinse the salmon inside and out and pat dry. Generously oil a shallow roasting pan and place the fish on it. Spread oil over the entire surface and put a little more on the inside of the fish cavity. Sprinkle the dill over the inside surface to thinly coat.
Slice several green olives and put them inside the cavity. The amount you use is dependent on the size of the fish and your preference. Just be sure not to over stuff, you’ll want the fish ribs to close up over the olives while baking. Put a couple of slices of butter inside and close the fish.
Place the fish in the oven to bake, uncovered. The time will vary greatly depending on the size of your fish. Ours was a 5 pound behemoth, requiring about 45 minutes. I will also flip the fish over about halfway through the baking time to allow the juices from the olives and capers to flavor the both sides. Check on your salmon periodically to prevent over cooking. The flesh should be a lighter pink, should flake easily when poked with a fork, but still be juicy.
While the fish is baking, make your sauce. This is could be optional, but it is so good, and gives a nice finishing touch to the meal. Put all but the cream in a small sauce pan. Put on high heat on the stove and bring to a boil. Continue to boil for roughly five minutes until the bubbles that form on the surface become larger in size. Add the cream and bring back to a boil for a couple of minutes more. Remove from the heat. The sauce will thicken as it cools. The flavor will be intense, so a little goes a long way.
When the fish is done, serve it with a little of the olive and caper stuffing and lightly drizzle some of the sauce over. This pairs very nicely with steamed vegetables simply dressed with just a little olive oil and lemon juice. By the way, leftover cooked fish parts (skin, tail, bones, head) all make excellent additions to the compost pile. You’ll notice I didn’t add salt to anything that wouldn’t be consumed, so no problems there. Just be sure to bury it well in your compost pile to help cover any smells that might attract problem critters.