As fish go, salmon is a jack-of-all-trades. It allows for a range of cooking techniques (or no cooking at all — I’m looking at you, sushi, sashimi, and poke). There’s almost no mood it can’t strike, from fast and casual to elegant and impressive; from light and breezy for warmer weather to hearty and rib-sticking for—right now! A club sandwich, roast salmon and potatoes, and a chowder with a Northwest twist are satisfying meals that will leave you feeling ready to conquer the waning days of winter.
Salmon Club Sandwich With Roasted Peppers and Spinach
Makes 4 Sandwiches
12 slices bacon (about 12 ounces)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound skin-on salmon fillet, pinbones removed, cut crosswise into four equal pieces, and patted dry with paper towels
Salt and ground black pepper
½ teaspoon pressed or grated garlic (about 1 medium clove)
1 teaspoon paprika
¾ cup mayonnaise
About ¼ teaspoon cayenne
12 slices hearty French or Italian sandwich bread
1 1/3 cups (lightly packed) fresh baby spinach leaves,
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
9 ounces roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed, and cut into thin strips (about ¾ cup)
Cook bacon to taste and set aside to drain on paper towels.
In a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat 2 teaspoons oil until shimmering. Sprinkle the salmon fillets lightly with salt and black pepper and cook, flesh side down and undisturbed, until they start to turn opaque on the bottom, about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the fillets, and cook, again undisturbed, until they are no longer translucent and are firm but not hard (about 2 minutes longer for rare or 3 minutes longer for medium). Transfer the salmon to a plate and remove the skin.
Return the skillet to medium heat, add the garlic and paprika and cook in the residual fat, stirring, until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Scrape the mixture into a small bowl, add the mayonnaise, cayenne, a pinch of salt, and black pepper to taste then stir to blend.
Toast the bread. Spread about 1 tablespoon of the paprika mayo on each of four slices and top each with about ‚ cup spinach. Place a salmon fillet on each, lightly break it up into rough flakes, and sprinkle each with about ¾ teaspoon of lemon juice. Spread four more slices of bread with about 1 tablespoon of paprika mayo each and place mayo side up on the salmon. Arrange about 3 tablespoons roasted red pepper strips on each, sprinkle with ground black pepper to taste, and top each with three slices of bacon. Spread about 1 more tablespoon paprika mayo on each of the last four slices of toast and press lightly over the bacon. Cut sandwich in half if desired, and serve at once.
Roasted Orange-Glazed Salmon With Cumin-Scented Potatoes
In this recipe the salmon cooks to about medium to medium-well.
3 pounds small red-skinned, Yukon gold, or creamer potatoes, scrubbed and halved
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
¾ teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons thawed orange juice concentrate
1½ tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1½ teaspoons pressed or grated garlic (about 3 medium cloves)
2¼ pounds skin-on salmon fillet, pinbones removed, cut crosswise into 6 equal pieces, and patted dry with paper towels
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
With the rack in the middle position, heat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes and olive oil to coat. Add the cumin, paprika, ¾ teaspoon salt, and pepper to tasteg and toss. Arrange the potatoes cut side down on the baking sheet and roast, undisturbed, until nearly tender and cut sides are browned, about 16 minutes. Remove from the oven; adjust the oven temperature to 500 degrees. Adjust potatoes to make space for the salmon on about half the baking sheet.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the orange juice concentrate, honey, tomato paste, garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste to blend. Arrange the salmon skin side down on the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brush each piece lightly with about 1½ teaspoons of the orange-honey mixture and roast, undisturbed, for 7 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer the potatoes to a serving platter, and cover with foil to keep warm.
Adjust the oven rack to the upper position and heat the broiler. Brush the salmon with the remaining orange-honey mixture and broil until top is drier and golden, about 2 to 4 minutes longer. Rest the salmon for about 5 minutes, arrange it on the serving platter with the potatoes, sprinkle with the cilantro, and serve.
TIP: REST YOUR CHOWDER
Pacific Northwest-Style Salmon Chowder
Makes about 3 quarts
4 slices thick-cut bacon (about 5 ounces), cut into ½-inch pieces
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1½ teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly toasted and cracked
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 quart fish or seafood stock
1½ pounds Yukon gold or all-purpose potatoes (about 3 medium), peeled, halved lengthwise and cut into ½-inch slices
1½ pounds leeks (about 3 medium), white and light green parts, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
2½ pounds skinned wild salmon fillets, pinbones removed, and cut into 3-inch chunks
2 cups half-and-half
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until rendered and crisp. Leaving the bacon in the pot, pour off all but 1½ tablespoons of the fat. Add the onion, celery, bay leaves, thyme, fennel, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, adjust heat to medium-high, and with a wooden spoon scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen and dissolve the fond; cook until reduced by about half. Add the stock and potatoes, adjust the heat to medium-high, bring to a strong simmer, cover and cook until the potatoes start to soften around the edges, about 7 minutes. Adjust the heat to medium, add the leeks and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper and stir to mix. Add the salmon, submerge it, and cook, covered, for 5 minutes. Add the half-and-half, stir gently, and rest the chowder off the heat for about 30 minutes.
Gently reheat chowder over medium-low heat (do not boil). Remove the bay leaves and add the lemon juice. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. (If you prefer a thicker chowder, mash a few of the potatoes against the side of the pot and stir to thicken.) Add most of the parsley, and serve, sprinkling each portion with some of the remaining parsley.Adam Ried appears regularly on “America’s Test Kitchen.” Send comments to email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter @BostonGlobeMag.