So, I’ve been on a real Salmon kick lately.
If you live in New York (or anywhere), this is an expensive “kick” to be on. Salmon can cost upwards of $15 a pound (!), which is, gulp, a dollar an ounce? Compared to the insanely low $2.99 a pound you can get boneless, skinless chicken breasts for, it seems like it would be hard to rationalize eating such a posh fish for dinner. But then, you man up, buy some salmon, make the salmon, and you eat it. And you realize, it is so, totally, worth it. Besides, there’s only so much ground turkey and chicken a person can take before they head straight to the fish counter at Whole Foods and order up!
Last week, I was looking to make a quick-and-easy dinner for one, and decided I’d broil up some salmon, since it’s pretty much as hands-off as you can get. I tossed a four-ounce filet with some olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic, and popped it in my toaster oven (like a professional chef would do!) at 400º F for about 20 minutes.
While the salmon was roasting away, I dug through my fridge for some sort of side dish that would at least resemble a vegetable. As per the usual, avocado seemed the most appealing. But since plain old avocado slathered on top of salmon seemed a one-note, I opted to cut the fat with a refreshing bit of chopped cherry tomatoes, diced roasted peppers, and a splash of balsamic.
This is a pretty “safe” dinner in my kitchen. I love all of these ingredients and they’re make frequent appearances in my cooking, so there wasn’t any doubt in my mind that I’d enjoy this dish. That being said, I didn’t expect for this to be quite so incredible!! In fact, it blew me away!
I took the first fork full of the steaming hot, juicy salmon with a cool, creamy chunk of avocado and tart piece of tomato, balsamic dripping, and did a double take (yes, this was powerful enough to tear me away from The Bachelor: Women-Tell-All). The flavors were completely complimentary, richly satisfying from the salmon and avocado, yet refreshing from the tart red vegetables and vinegar. Each bite of fish and salsa hit all of my taste buds: savory, sweet, tart and tangy.
While the first rendition of this roasted salmon dish came about by accident, the second take was completely deliberate, and I hoped to prove with a back-up taste-tester that not only was this dish ridiculously easy to pull off (even for those who might be intimidated by cooking salmon), but the mouth-feel from healthy fats and refreshing flavor were appealing to those with different palate preferences.
The verdict? The dish was, once again, a huge winner in the flavor department, not to mention full of bright, beautiful color, making it sure to impress. Serve it alongside a chilled orzo pasta salad, like the one below.
I adapted one of my favorite orzo recipes, upping the mint, kalamata and green olives for a more sweet and tangy contrast to the rich salmon. In short, this is a super-fast, super satisfying, extremely delicious (and healthy) spring dinner!
Roasted Salmon with Tomato Avocado Salsa – Serves 3
- 3 – 4 to 6 ounce fillets of wild Salmon (such as as Sockeye)
- 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp dried thyme
- 1 medium avocado, skin and pit removed, chopped
- 1/2 of one large, ripe tomato, chopped
- 1/4 cup of roasted red peppers, chopped
- 1 – 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (depending on your taste)
1. Preheat oven to 400º F.
2. Spray a baking sheet or roasting pan with non-stick cooking spray. Season salmon fillets with salt, pepper, garlic powder and thyme on both sides. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and toss to coat. Lay salmon skin-side down on the baking sheet. Roast in oven for about 20 minutes, or until meat flakes when cut with a fork.
3. While the salmon is roasting, make the salsa. Combine chopped avocado, tomato, roasted red pepper, balsamic vinegar, and remaining olive oil in a small bowl. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Toss to coat. Allow to marinate while salmon finishes cooking.
4. Once salmon is cooked, allow to rest for a few minutes. Serve hot with a third of the salsa over each fillet. Great with a room temperature or cool orzo salad or green salad.