Cousin Tanya’s Saltine Salmon


The other Sunday night we were making family dinner and Tanya, my cousin, had pulled some salmon out of the chest freezer. And we both looked at it for a minute, sitting there. That’s the thing with a freezer full of fish. You always have to come up with new ways to cook it. Then T got some inspiration. She whipped up this recipe, inspired by dijon chicken she used to love at as a teenager at Simon Seafort’s. The recipe she had in mind would have used panko crumbs, but we didn’t have any. What we did have were some classic Saltines. So we subbed them in. And it turned out delicious and made us a little nostalgic for the ’80s-cooking dinners of our childhoods. This recipe is a keeper. Throw some broccoli in the oven with it and BAM: weeknight dinner.

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First, we melted some butter with crushed garlic.

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We whisked in some dijon. Then we crushed up some Saltines and mixed them with good-quality parmesan and set up a work station.

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We portioned up the once-frozen salmon.

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We dredged the salmon in the dijon mixture and then rolled it in the Saltine mix. We added a little sprinkle of sea salt and some pepper to each piece. Then we baked it in a hot oven for about 8 minutes. (I might add a little pat of butter to each piece next time, just for good measure.)

Cousin Tanya’s Saltine Salmon

Serves 6, generously

Ingredients:

About 3 pounds previously frozen salmon (we used Copper River red)

6 tablespoons butter

2 cloves garlic, crushed

4 tablespoons dijon mustard

About 20 Saltines (half a sleeve), you can sub 2 cups panko crumbs or 2 cups GF panko

1 cup good parmesan, grated with a microplane grater

Salt and pepper

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 475°. Melt the butter on medium low heat, add the garlic, bring to boiling. Remove from heat, pour into a bowl and whisk in the dijon so it’s well combined. Put the saltines in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Pour the crumbs in a separate bowl and mix in the cheese. Portion up the salmon. Set up a little work station, with salmon on a plate, the dijon mixture, the cracker  mixture and a parchment-covered sheet pan. Coat each piece in dijon, roll in crumbs and then set on the sheet pan. Once you’re done, sprinkle everything with sea salt and pepper, and if you want, add a little pat of butter to each piece. Slide into the oven and set the timer for 7 minutes. Check the thickest piece. If it isn’t done, remove the thinner pieces and give it a minute or two more.

Here’s a bonus pic of my neighbor Sparkle crushing crackers for me when I tested this recipe. Look at the awesome freckles!

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Julia O’Malley is a journalist who lives in Anchorage. She writes about culture, family, home, the environment and food in Alaska.

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