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Quick Weeknight Dinner: “NY Times Salmon”

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Sustainable Seafood and Wild Alaskan Salmon

The handwritten recipe in the photo is one of my favorite dishes. We’ve been buying Copper River Sockeye Salmon at the local fishmonger and I’ve asked for it 2 times in less than 2 weeks. I love it. I love the dish, it’s so tasty. I love it’s a family dish with a well-loved, spattered recipe. (I also love it’s being made for me instead of the other way round!)

See the note in the corner under the splotch? Where it says “NY Times” and directly underneath it the word “superb?”  I adore that the descriptive is the word “superb” not “good” or a star or checkmark. Considering my beloved cookery wordsmith, of course it is. ❤️

Recipe Attribution and Testing

When I said I was going to write about it in this week’s blog my highly ethical salmon chef said, “It’s not an original (meaning hers) I think it’s from the NY Times.” (It wasn’t until a bit later I understood the scribble in the corner.)  I googled a bit and discovered the original recipe was from 1996. There’s been a lot of fuss and worry about recipe testing – or the lack thereof – and plagiarizing amongst a group of culinary professionals in the blogosphere of late.

I admit it makes me a bit crazy to read blog posts that have recipes that I can tell clearly don’t work or that are essentially overblown uncredited ads. Several weeks ago I saw a post with a recipe for really delicious looking grilled herbed chicken — but the bean recipe was to heat the can of beans. I saw another popular blogger had softly lit, shallow focus bags of frozen vegetables in her post. Seriously.

Earlier this week a journalist interviewed me and relayed praise thatCentral Market Cooking School raved about my recipes and how well they work. I was thrilled and it brought a big smile to my face. I love teaching at Central Market and it’s very professionally satisfying that I have their respect. (By the way, I am teaching at Central Market next week and seats are still available! Sign up today!)

In terms of the “NY Times Salmon” I’ve made a small number of changes in the original. There’s some magic number, supposedly 3, that transfers recipe attribution. Frankly, my version is probably altered enough that I could more than likely get away with not acknowledging the original source from 16 years ago. After all, there’s no copyrighting of recipes, which is part of the larger issue, and no one would know.

I would know — as would my much-loved, kind, and honest salmon-cooking wordsmith.

Bon Appétit Y’all

PS need more great salmon recipes? Check THIS out and download a FREE ebook on cooking fish

Salmon Recipe on



Servings: 4
Author: Virginia Willis


  • 1 large salmon filet scaled, with skin and pin bones removed (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 3 cloves garlic very finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons tamari preferably wheat free
  • 6 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, thyme leaves, cilantro, and chives
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 sweet onion preferably Vidalia, thinly sliced, optional
  • Coarse Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Place the salmon in a shallow ovenproof baking dish or rimmed half sheet pan. Set aside. Combine the garlic, sugar, soy sauce, herbs, oils, lemon zest and lemon juice in a bowl. Stir to combine and pour over salmon. Turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate to marinate, 30 minutes to an 1 hour. (Set the table and do your other food prep. Pour a glass of wine.)
  • Meanwhile, place the top rack about 4-inches from the heat source. Heat the oven to broil. About 15 minutes before ready to cook, remove the salmon to the counter to take the chill off and come to room temperature. Scatter around sliced onions. Broil to medium rare, 5 to 7 minutes depending on the strength of your broiler. Serve immediately.

Please be nice. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission is prohibited. Feel free to excerpt and link, just give credit where credit is due and send folks to my website, Thanks so much.

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Virginia Willis

Georgia-born French-trained Chef Virginia Willis’ biography includes making chocolate chip cookies with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, foraging for berries in the Alaskan wilderness, harvesting capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, and hunting for truffles in France. She is talent and chef-instructor for the digital streaming platform Food Network Kitchen. Her segments feature authentic and innovative Southern cooking. She was the celebrity chef at the Mansion at Churchill Downs for the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby. Virginia has spoken at SXSW, cooked for the James Beard Foundation, and beguiled celebrities such as Bill Clinton, Morgan Freeman, and Jane Fonda with her cooking — but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen. Recently, her work has been inspired by her weight loss success story, Virginia has lost 65# and kept it off for over 2 1/2 years! “If a French-trained, Southern chef can do it, you can, too.” She is the author of Fresh Start; Secrets of the Southern Table; Lighten Up, Y’all; Bon Appétit, Y’all; Basic to Brilliant, Y’all; Okra; and Grits. Lighten Up, Y’all won a James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence in the Focus on Health Category. Lighten Up, Y’all as well as her first cookbook, Bon Appétit, Y’all, were finalists in the Best American Cookbook for the International Association of Cookbook Awards and were also named by the Georgia Center of the Book as “Books Georgians Should Read.” She is the former TV kitchen director for Martha Stewart Living, Bobby Flay, and Nathalie Dupree; has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants; and traveled the world producing food stories – from making cheese in California to escargot farming in France. She has appeared on Food Network’s Chopped, CBS This Morning, Fox Family and Friends, Martha Stewart Living, and as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. She’s been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, People Magazine, Eater, and Food52 and has contributed to Eating Well, GRLSQUASH, Culture, Garden & Gun, and Bon Appétit, and more. The Chicago Tribune praised her as one of “Seven Food Writers You Need to Know.” Her legion of fans loves her down-to-earth attitude, approachable spirit, and traveling exploits. Her culinary consulting company, Virginia Willis Culinary Enterprises, Inc specializes in content creation, recipe development, culinary editorial and production services, cookbook writing, media training, spokesperson and brand representation, and public speaking. Virginia is on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Blue Ribbon Task Force, the Atlanta Community Food Bank Advisory Board, as well as the Community Farmers Market Advisory Board. She is a food and hunger advocate for No Kid Hungry and a premier member of the No Kid Hungry Atlanta Society. She a member of The James Beard Foundation, Chef’s Collaborative, Georgia Organics, and Southern Foodways Alliance.

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