[5] Slow-Roasted Salmon with Yogurt and Cardamom

Big City Cooking

As you can probably imagine, right now a lot of our meals start with, “What do we have in the house?” and “What recipes do we have in cookbooks?” This was particularly hard until 2 June 2010 (when we made this dish) because we had been holding off on buying very much food until our first CSA share arrived. We purchased a few things at one of the city’s farmers’ markets two days before the share arrived to supplement what we already had, but that was it.

This salmon dish was the first recipe we made after going out for groceries. I was rather hesitant about it, but it turned out fairly well. The best part? Having leftover salmon to top salads with the next day!


4 skinless salmon fillets, weighing about 6oz each (I skinned our salmon myself. Our fillets were bigger than this, but we had fewer total.)
2 tbs olive oil for cooking (He calls for, and we use, extra-virgin. However, I doubt it’s truly necessary. We just keep one kind on hand.)

Extra olive oil for brushing the fish

2 tsp ground cardamom

1 c plain yogurt (I used fat-free greek yogurt)

2 tbsp honey

Kosher salt

Coarsely ground black pepper


Mix together the yogurt and honey thoroughly.

Brush the top of each fillet with oil, then sprinkle evenly with the cardamom. It will likely be fairly thick. Place them side by side in a glass dish with high sides, then spoon the yogurt-honey mixture all over the cardamom-covered fish. Cover with an airtight cover (probably plastic wrap, but your dish might have a cover like ours does) and let the mixture stand in the refrigerator for at least three and no more than six hours (see notes, below).

Preheat the oven to 325°F, then uncover the salmon and brush off the excess yogurt. Season the fillets with salt and pepper, then be super excited about cooking them!

Heat the two tablespoons of olive oil in a large, oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Choose a skillet that is large enough to hold all your fish without crowding, or plan to do this in two skillets. Sear the salmon on one side for two to three minutes (aiming for caramelization). Flip the salmon over, then pop that skillet in the oven for six minutes (for “lightly cooked through) to eight minutes (for “entirely cooked through”).


Cooking and Consumption Notes.


This definitely makes some “yogurt cheese” in the pan. It’s fine and tasty, but looks a little gross. I used, as I mentioned, fat-free greek yogurt for this recipe, and I would not do that again. I might still use fat-free yogurt, but the greek yogurt was probably too thick to get a good marinade going. Furthermore, the cookbook says that if the recipe is marinated for more than six hours, the fish will start to break down. I suspect this happens at a much earlier point, especially for flash-frozen fish that is thawed. That’s what we used, and it was already a little texturally compromised, but this definitely was a bit much. Luckily, we marinated it for less than the full three hours (because of the textural compromise), and it came out beautifully.

Oh, and skinning your own fish is challenging if you’ve never done it before. Remember, you’re not so much cutting the skin off as peeling it off. I hope the photos I took of this process came out, but it’s challenging to photograph and skin at the same time.


Oh man, was this delicious. I was very hesitant about the copious amount of cardamom in the recipe, but I was so wrong. Not only was it delicious that day, but the cardamom even played well the next day on top of a tossed-together salad with CSA lettuce, feta, carrots and balsamic vinaigrette dressing (from the store). If I weren’t so desperate to buy new cookbooks already, this would quickly work its way into our food rotation.

Okay, well, I’m not desperate yet. But Bill and I have a daunting number of recipes ahead of us.