I make salmon about one a week, so it is a challenge to keep this dish fresh. Frequently I will glaze the filet with one of my marmalades and broil it 2 inches from the heating element. If you look at the pictures of some of my past broiled salmon posts this has not been ideal. The high heat tended to burn the sugar in the jam before the fish is cooked through.
In the past, I have cooked the leeks under the salmon and over the salmon. If you do not precook the leeks, they tend to turn out underdone when cooked beneath the salmon. If you put the leeks on top, while the fish comes out nicely the leeks at the very top tend to burn slightly. Today, I decide to sauté the leeks in butter and then I had the idea of adding some toasted pecans.
To solve my problem, with the top of the salmon burning before it cooked through, I decided to use a bi-level broiling technique. I placed my oven racks on the highest level and the level just below. I started broiling my salmon on the lower rack, four inches from the broiling elements. After ten minutes I moved the pan to the upper rack to finish browning. The salmon came out perfectly, moist and flavorful.
Karl’s Broiled Salmon on a Bed of Leeks
2 cups leeks, shredded
1 Tbs. butter (I prefer Irish style butter for this purpose)
Pinch salt, separate uses
Pinch cracked black pepper, separate uses
¼ cup pecan bits, toasted
¾-1 lb. salmon filet, skinned
1. Slice the leek in half lengthwise and shredded it finely.
Tip: Once you cut the leek in half it is hard to keep the inner leaves from moving around as you cut them. A trick I came up with is to leave the root end intact and then slice down through the leek about half way—the uncut part holds the upper part together as you slice through both halves. When you slice down to where you finished cutting, slice lengthwise a bit more and continue shredding the leek. When you get to the nub end make a final cut down to about half an inch from the roots and shred the last bit. Discard the root end.
2. In a small dry skillet toast the pecan bits, until lightly browned.
Tip: Set the pecans aside to cool.
Note: Remove the nuts from the pan, so that the residual heat does not burn them.
3. Set two oven racks on the highest and second highest levels and preheat your broiler.
4. Melt the butter in a medium sauté pan, over medium heat, and add the shredded leek.
5. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and sauté for 4-5 minutes.
6. Remove the leeks from the heat and stir in the toasted nuts.
7. Line a broiler pan, with aluminum foil, and Pam it lightly.
8. Spread the sautéed leaks out in an even layer.
Tip: You are not trying to cover the bottom of the broiler pan. Estimate the size of you filet and shape the bead of leeks to match.
9. Place the salmon filet on top of the leeks and push all of the leeks under the filet.
Note: Any stray bits of leek sticking out will be in danger of burning.
10. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over the salmon.
11. Place your pan on the lower rack and broil on high for 10 minutes.
12. Move the pan to the upper rack and continue broiling for 4-7 minutes, until the salmon is cooked though and the top is lightly browned.
Note: If you are making this for company slide the filet along with the foil onto a serving platter—trimming away any excess foil and disguise the foil with a parsley garnish. For just my family, I simply bring the broiler pan to the tables and place it on a trivet.