I'll be honest. The real star of this salmon dish is the green olive and almond tapenade. No offense to the salmon, which is sublime as always and a no-fail, simple, healthy meal.
But, frankly, it's the tapenade I want to talk about: It's positively addictive with a briny brightness that complements the buttery, rich salmon. It's also versatile. Not only is the tapenade a worthy accompaniment to grilled fish (swordfish, cod and halibut are also good contenders), it's a great stand-alone starter spooned on crostini or sprinkled over pizzas, pasta and grains.
The good news is that this recipe makes a generous amount of tapenade, so you can refrigerate the leftovers. Then you will have extra to smear on a slice of bread or swipe a carrot stick through. You might even find yourself eating it straight from the bowl with a spoon. I'm speaking from experience.
Roasted Salmon With Green Olive Tapenade
Active time: 10 minutes
Total time: about 40 minutes
Yield: 4 servings; makes about 1 1/2 cups tapenade
12 ounces pitted green olives
1/2 cup almonds, toasted
2 anchovies, drained
1 large garlic clove
2 teaspoons capers
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, pin bones removed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for garnish
Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus 4 lemon wedges for serving
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Make the tapenade: Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process to a coarse paste, without letting it get mushy. (The tapenade may be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the salmon in one layer in a roasting pan, skin-side down. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and the lemon juice. Lightly season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake in the oven until the salmon is just cooked through the center, about 25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.
Transfer to serving plates and top each fillet with about 2 tablespoons of the tapenade. Garnish each fillet with a lemon wedge before serving.
CAPTIONS AND CREDITS