Here’s how to make 30-minute salmon

Slow Baked Salmon with Mustard Greens. (Jessica J. Trevino/Detroit Free Press/TNS)
Slow Baked Salmon with Mustard Greens. (Jessica J. Trevino/Detroit Free Press/TNS)

When I first made this recipe from our archives, I immediately tucked it away in my impressive dinner file. For starters, I am a huge salmon fan. I love it for its taste, because it’s versatile, and it’s considered a healthy fat. And this recipe looked so good and so pretty.

At first I almost passed the recipe up because of the low, 250-degrees, baking temperature. So many people grapple with cooking temperatures and times, and this seemed like a red-flag.

Really, I thought it was a mistake at first, and I was ready to get on the phone to the folks at Bon Appetit magazine to find out. But I did some research and found when you cook salmon at a high temperature the protein seizes and tightens. At low temperatures it cooks the fish gently. (Not that cooking at a high temperature is all that bad, I broil salmon often.)

The low and slow baking of the salmon turns out moist and tender. It’s not dry at all. Typically, salmon, depending on the thickness cooks quickly, like 8-10 minutes under the broiler or on the grill. This recipe takes about 30 minutes in the oven. It’s enough time to cook the salmon through, but not overcook it.

Another bonus to this recipe is it’s to serve in just under an hour. And so if you’re the type that can multi-task a little in the kitchen and mingle with guests, this is the recipe for you.

The ingredients come together nicely in this dish. There’s a layer of a chickpea mixture that’s seasoned with cumin. Another layer is sauteed mustard greens with hints of garlic. The mustard greens tend to have a bitterness to them, but they are balanced with some honey. In the end everything comes together nicely. Don’t like the bitter greens? Swap out some Swiss chard or even kale.

Finally, it’s also about the capers. I love capers. In this recipe the capers are fried. Yes, fried. In the skillet they sizzle and pop and bring on another deep flavor. They complement the salmon well. There’s hardly any salt in this recipe so the small amount of salt these add won’t make a difference.

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Slow-cooked Salmon, Chickpeas and Mustard Greens

Serves: 4/ Preparation time: 20 minutes/ Total time: 50 minutes

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SALMON

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the baking dish, divided

1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large garlic clove, peeled, thinly sliced

1 bunch small mustard greens, ribs and stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped or rainbow chard

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 cup water

4 salmon fillets (about 5 ounces each, skin removed)

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VINAIGRETTE

1/2 small shallot, peeled, very finely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 to 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon honey

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons capers, drained, rinsed, patted dry

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Brush a large baking dish with a bit of oil.

In a medium bowl, combine chickpeas, cumin and 1 tablespoon oil. Mash about half of chickpeas in the bowl with a fork; season all with salt and pepper. Transfer chickpea mixture to prepared dish.

In a large skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the mustard greens or rainbow chard and cook, tossing, until slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Add honey and water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing, until greens are completely wilted, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to baking dish, placing the greens on top of the chickpea mixture.

Generously season each salmon fillet with salt and pepper; arrange on top of the greens and chickpea mixture and drizzle with oil. Bake until salmon is opaque in the center, 25-30 minutes depending on its thickness.

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk shallot, lemon juice, mustard and honey; season with salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

Heat vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook capers until opened and crisp, about 30 seconds; drain on paper towels.

Drizzle salmon with vinaigrette and top with capers.

Adapated from Bon Appetit March 2014 issue. Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

 

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