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Swimming Upstream? Try Salmon

May 21, 1997|BETTY ROSBOTTOM | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES; Rosbottom is a cooking school director and author of "American Favorites" (Chapters Publishing, 1996)

When overnight guests arrive late on a busy day, roasted salmon fillets make an easy main course. Each time I serve this roasted fish, the response is the same: Guests love the moist, tender fillets and ask how they are prepared.

I marinate the fish in a mixture of red wine vinegar, soy sauce and olive oil for a few hours and prepare a simple ginger-lemon butter using finely chopped fresh ginger root, grated lemon peel and lemon juice. The fillets, after marinating, are topped with bits of the seasoned butter, then roasted in a hot oven in less than 15 minutes.

One of my favorite side dishes for the salmon is asparagus, which I roasted along with the salmon for one meal and blanched and sprinkled with herbs for another. Boiled red potatoes with flavored butter, garnished with chives or parsley, are another fine accompaniment. Scoops of store-bought strawberry or raspberry sorbet garnished with fresh mint sprigs and served with homemade butter pecan cookies make a fine ending.

ROASTED SALMON FILLETS WITH GINGER-LEMON BUTTER

5 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger root

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

6 (6- to 7-ounce ) salmon fillets

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons olive oil

Nonstick cooking spray

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped parsley, preferably flat leaf, or chives

Mix together butter, ginger, lemon peel, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate. (Note: Butter can be prepared 1 day ahead. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.)

Remove any bones from salmon with tweezers and arrange fillets, skin side down, in shallow baking dish that will hold them comfortably in single layer.

Whisk together vinegar, soy sauce and olive oil, and pour over fish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 to 6 hours, turning fish several times to marinate evenly.

Line baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Remove salmon from marinade and arrange, skin side down, on pan. Put small pieces of ginger-lemon butter over top of each fillet. Season generously with pepper.

Bake at 450 degrees on center rack until fish is opaque and flesh springs back when touched with fingers, 12 to 14 minutes. (Note: Roasting time will vary depending on thickness of fillets.) Garnish with chopped parsley.

6 servings. Each serving:

363 calories; 772 mg sodium; 81 mg cholesterol; 25 grams fat; 2 grams carbohydrates; 31 grams protein; 0.09 gram fiber.

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