|Gently Cooked Salmon with Mashed Potatoes
2 pounds baking potatoes (about 5 or 6), peeled and cut into quarters
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons butter, plus 1/4 teaspoon
24 ounce center cut salmon fillet (or 2 12-ounce fillets), about 1 1/4 inches thick at thickest point, skin on and scaled
1/2 ounce chives, about 40 to 60 chives (a small handful)
4 tablespoons canola, corn, or other neutral oil
3/4 cup milk, gently warmed
Boil the potatoes in salted water to cover, until soft; this will take about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, smear a baking dish with the 1/4 teaspoon of butter and place the salmon, skin side up, on the butter. Let sit while you preheat the oven to 275 degrees.
Mince a tablespoon or so of the chives for garnish. Tear the rest of the chives into 2-inch lengths and place in the container of a blender with the oil and a little salt. Blend, stopping the machine to push the mixture down once or twice, until the oil has a cream-like consistency.
When the potatoes are done, put the salmon in the oven and set the timer for 12 minutes.
Drain the potatoes, then mash them well or put them through a food mill. Return them to the pot over very low heat and stir in the butter and—gradually—the milk, beating with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper as necessary. Keep warm.
Check the salmon after 12 minutes; the skin should peel off easily, it should flake, and an instant read thermometer should display about 120 degrees. It may look underdone, but if it meets these three criteria it is done. (If it is not done, or you prefer it better done, return it to the oven for 3 minutes more). If you like, scrape off the gray fatty matter on the skin side (or just turn the fish over). Sprinkle with some coarse salt and cracked black pepper.
To serve, place a portion of mashed potatoes on a plate; top with a piece of salmon. Drizzle chive oil all around the plate and garnish with minced chives.
Source: The New York Times