Salmon lends itself to a number of cooking methods, but it is particularly well suited to moist-heat cooking. One of the simplest ways to do that is to wrap the salmon in a foil packet, along with shallots and a splash of white wine. The packets can be cooked in the oven or on an outdoor grill. Herbs, abundant in early summer, contribute fresh, lively flavors to this selection of sauces. It is easy to adjust the number of servings of salmon, making a smaller packet for one or two or two packets for a larger group. The sauces all keep well and can be used for a variety of dishes.
SALMON PACKETS: Preheat oven to 425 degrees or heat a gas or charcoal grill at medium-high. Cut 1 lb salmon fillet (or steelhead trout or Arctic char) into 4 portions. Place a 22-inch-long sheet of aluminum foil on the work surface. Coat with cooking spray. Arrange salmon pieces on one side of sheet of foil. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp dry white wine (you can substitute nonalcoholic wine or use 1 Tbsp low-sodium seafood or chicken stock mixed with 1 Tbsp lemon juice). Sprinkle with 1/4 cup finely chopped shallot, 1/8 tsp salt, and pepper to taste. Fold the other half of the foil rectangle over to enclose contents. Roll up edges to seal packet.
To cook in oven: Place packets on baking sheet and bake until salmon is opaque in the center, 8 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness of salmon. (When you open a packet to check doneness, be careful of steam.)
To cook on grill: If using a gas grill, turn off one of the burners. If using a charcoal grill, push hot coals to one side. Place packets on unheated portion of grill. Cover grill and cook packets over indirect heat until salmon is opaque in the center, 8 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness of fish. (Again, be careful of steam.)
To serve: Use a wide spatula to transfer the contents of each packet to individual plates. Spoon any juices over salmon. Accompany with your choice of the following sauces.
Yield: 4 servings.
Per serving (without sauce): Calories: 200. Total fat: 8 grams. Saturated fat: 1.5 grams. Cholesterol: 70 milligrams. Sodium: 130 milligrams. Carbohydrate: 2 grams: Fiber: 0 grams. Protein: 26 grams.
CILANTRO & PUMPKIN SEED SALSA: Toast 1/4 cup unsalted pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) in dry medium skillet over medium-low heat, stirring almost constantly, until fragrant and starting to crackle, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to small bowl; let cool. Transfer to food processor. Add 3/4 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves (or parsley), 1 Tbsp coarsely chopped, seeded jalapeo pepper, 1 small clove garlic (crushed), 1/4 tsp salt, and pepper to taste; pulse until finely chopped. Add 2 Tbsp low-fat plain yogurt, 4 tsp fresh lime juice, and 2 tsp canola oil; process until mixture forms a creamy sauce, stopping to scrape down sides of work bowl as needed. (This and other sauces will keep, with a piece of plastic wrap placed directly on the surface to prevent discoloration, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.) You can also serve this sauce with any type of fish, chicken, burgers, or as a dip for vegetables or baked tortilla chips.
Yield: 1/2 cup.
Per Tbsp: Calories: 45. Total fat: 4 grams. Saturated fat: 0.5 grams. Cholesterol: 0 milligrams. Sodium: 75 milligrams. Carbohydrate: 1 gram. Fiber: 0 grams. Protein: 2 grams.
MINT CHUTNEY: Place 2 cups lightly packed fresh mint leaves, 2 Tbsp coarsely chopped, seeded jalapeo, 1 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh ginger, 1 garlic clove (crushed), 2 tsp mild honey, and 1/4 tsp salt in food processor; process until finely chopped. Add 1/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt, 2 Tbsp rice vinegar, and pepper to taste; process until mixture forms a creamy sauce, stopping to scrape down sides of work bowl as needed. In addition to salmon, try this lively sauce with lamb or as an accompaniment to curries.
Yield: 1/2 cup.
Per Tbsp: Calories: 20. Total fat: 0 grams. Saturated fat: 0 grams. Cholesterol: 0 milligrams. Sodium: 85 milligrams. Carbohydrate: 4 grams: Fiber: 2 grams. Protein: 1 gram.
PARSLEY-CAPER SAUCE (pictured): Place 2 cups lightly packed fresh Italian parsley leaves, 2 Tbsp drained and rinsed capers, and 2 garlic cloves (crushed) in food processor; process until finely chopped. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp low-fat mayonnaise, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, and 1/2 tsp anchovy paste; process until mixture forms a creamy sauce, stopping to scrape down sides of work bowl as needed. Also delicious with steamed vegetables, white-fleshed fish, beef, chicken or turkey.
Yield: 1/2 cup.
Per Tbsp: Calories: 40. Total fat: 4 grams. Saturated fat: 0.5 grams. Cholesterol: 0 milligrams. Sodium: 150 milligrams. Carbohydrate: 2 grams: Fiber: 0 grams. Protein: 0 grams.