As a city dweller, I don’t have the luxury of stepping outside onto the cool night grass to fire up the backyard grill and fill the air with the smell of smoky burgers, marinated chicken breasts, and melt-in-your-mouth salmon fillets.
So when the urge strikes for a bit of warm salmon to toss into a salad or serve alongside tender-crisp asparagus I turn toward this technique for oven-roasted salmon perfected by America’s Test Kitchen. It is hassle-free and provides some consolation to the fact that it is illegal to grill off my deck three stories up. (Apartment and condo dwellers across Boston break this rule all the time but my condo association happens to be very, very vigilant. My next-door neighbors moved in not knowing this rule and days after they had set up their brand-new grill they were harassed for months until they finally found a buyer for it.)
Use the roasted salmon to make a salad with quinoa, tomatoes, a bit of cucumber, add some feta cheese and golden raisins while the salmon is still warm. The salad will be gooey and delicious. If you have some fresh mint on hand, tear up a couple of tablespoons worth and stir in for a bright spring taste. Fresh peas would work nicely, too. You won’t need dressing for this but you can top with your favorite vinaigrette if you’d like.
One tip: start the quinoa cooking as you wait for the oven to preheat for the salmon.
Store the leftovers in the fridge for lunch the next day. It tastes just as good chilled.
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated (March & April 2008)
1 skin-on salmon fillet, about 1-1/2 inches at its thickest part
2 tablespoons olive oil
Table salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1. Adjust oven to lowest rack, place a baking sheet on the rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees F.
2. As the oven and sheet heat, turn over the salmon fillet and with a serrated knife make 4 to 5 diagonal slashes in the skin, taking care to not cut into the flesh.
3. Pat the salmon dry with paper towels. Rub the fillet even with olive oil and generously season with salt and ground pepper. (Now is a good time to start the quinoa, if you are making a salad or side to use with the fish.)
4. Once the oven reaches 500 degrees F., reduce to 275 degrees F. and remove the sheet with an oven mitt. Carefully place the salmon skin-side down on the baking and return to the oven. Roast until the thickest part of the fillet is still translucent when cut into with a paring knife, or registers 125 degrees F., about 9 to 13 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and set aside while you assemble the salad.
Quinoa and oven-roasted salmon salad
1/4 cup grape tomatoes halved
1/3 to 1/2 cup cucumber, cut into coins and quartered
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 tablespoons golden raisins
1 cup cooked quinoa
2 tablespoons feta cheese
Roasted salmon fillet
1 tablespoon slivered almonds
1. Prepare the quinoa according to the package instructions.
2. In a bowl, layer the tomatoes, cucumbers, and celery. Add quinoa and then the feta cheese.
3. Shred salmon over top while the fish is still warm and combine all ingredients.
4. Line a dinner plate with mixed greens. Spoon over salad mixture, top with slivered almonds and serve.