I don't cook fish very often, mostly because it is more expensive than meat and I'm always afraid I'm going to screw it up (see: my failed attempt at breaded halibut). However, my favorite source of new recipes featured a salmon recipe that corresponded nicely with a sale on the same at Whole Foods and I decided that it was time to conquer my fear of fish.
The recipe is one of the simplest I've gotten from the Chronicle: sauté salmon and shallots for five minutes over medium-high heat, flip the salmon, cover with sorrel, and let steam off the heat for a few more minutes.Although the recipe was written for a non-stick skillet, I do not own a non-stick skillet and decided I would just fill my stainless steel skillet with butter instead. This does have the effect of encouraging browning in the fish and the shallots. I welcomed the Maillard reaction's effects on the salmon, but the thinly-sliced shallots should be added a minute or two after the salmon if the pan is gong to be filled with fat or they will cook too quickly. As much sorrel should be used as possible, as the contrast between sour-tart sorrel and sweet-savory salmon is well worth the trouble of actually finding a store that sells sorrel.
While cooking the fish, I boiled some potatoes and poured a glass of dry cider. Salmon doesn't have the umami of, say, a good steak, but the meal did manage to pull off the other four flavors quite well. This is quite a feat given that it only really involved four ingredients.
I don't know if I've conquered my fear of cooking fish in general, but at least I now know a good way to cook a salmon steak. I also know a good way to keep fish from sticking to the pan: add more fat. Hooray for fat!