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Easy salmon recipes: Full of flavor and anything but boring

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Baked salmon with a side of vegetables is a common meal for dieters. It's also terribly boring. But there's more to salmon than eating it bare with a side of broccoli. 

When cooked properly, and married with the right flavors, the fish is moist, buttery, full of flavor and the perfect addition to any low-calorie diet plan. 

Here are five recipes for anything-but-boring salmon. Try salmon steaks with chive vinaigrette, seared salmon with cucumbers and brown butter, miso caper-glazed salmon, roasted salmon with red pepper hazelnut pesto and salmon with tomato, dill and garlic soup

CALIFORNIA COOKBOOK: Delicious recipes to make over and over

SALMON STEAKS WITH CHIVE VINAIGRETTE

Total time: 7 minutes | Serves 4

Ingredients: 

  • 4 wild salmon steaks, about 1-inch thick (6 ounces each), skin on
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chive vinaigrette 

Directions: 

Season the salmon steaks with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the salmon steaks and sear until golden and caramelized on one side, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip the steaks over, and cook for 3 minutes more. Remove and blot on a paper towel.

Drizzle each steak with about 2 tablespoons of chive vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

Chive vinaigrette: 

  • 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons finely cut chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2/3 cup best-quality olive oil 

Directions: 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, shallots, chives, salt and pepper. When the salt has dissolved, whisk in the olive oil.

Each serving: 428 calories; 34 grams protein; 2 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 31 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 80 mg. cholesterol; 159 mg. sodium.

SEARED SALMON WITH CUCUMBERS AND BROWN BUTTER

Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes | Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 1½ pounds salmon fillet (center cut or head end), in one piece
  • Salt, pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium or 1/2 large cucumber, split lengthwise, peeled, seeded and sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1½ teaspoons lemon juice
  • Whole or chopped chives, for garnish

Directions: 

Slice the salmon on a diagonal into 8 equal pieces about 1/2-inch thick (or have it cut at the fish market). Season the slices lightly on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook the salmon slices until just slightly underdone, about 1½ minutes per side. Transfer the fillets to warm plates.

Add the cucumber to the skillet and cook it over medium heat until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the butter, a dash of salt and the lemon juice and cook until the butter browns slightly, 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, arrange the cucumbers alongside the salmon and drizzle the browned butter over the fish. Garnish the fish with chives.

Each serving: 406 calories; 170 mg sodium; 114 mg cholesterol; 28 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 1 gram carbohydrates; 35 grams protein; 0.23 gram fiber.

MISO CAPER-GLAZED SALMON

Total time: 1½ hours | Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup capers packed in brine
  • 1/4 cup white miso
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 2 pounds salmon fillet, pin bones removed

Directions: 

In a medium bowl, crush the drained capers with a fork. Whisk in the miso, olive oil, agave and mirin.

Slice the salmon filet into 8 pieces and marinate the salmon with the miso-caper mixture in a covered dish or resealable bag for 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the salmon on the baking sheet and bake until the salmon is opaque and flakes easily, 15 to 20 minutes.

Each of 8 servings: 362 calories; 24 grams protein; 12 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 22 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 62 mg cholesterol; 6 grams sugar; 429 mg sodium.

ROASTED SALMON WITH RED PEPPER HAZELNUT PESTO

Total time: 1 hour | Serves 4

Ingredients: 

  • 3 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded (about 2 cups)
  • 2/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped, more to taste
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, more or less to taste, plus more for drizzling over the salmon
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped chives
  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets

Directions:

In a blender, combine the bell peppers, hazelnuts, garlic, lemon zest and juice, cider vinegar, one-fourth teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper. Pulse to combine. With the blender running, drizzle in the olive oil to emulsify and form the pesto. Taste, adjusting seasoning and flavoring as desired, and adjusting the thickness of the pesto with additional olive oil. This makes a generous 2 cups pesto, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe; any leftover pesto can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Remove the pesto to a bowl and stir in the chopped chives.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the salmon fillets on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and drizzle the top of each fillet with a little oil. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper over each fillet.

Place the fillets in the oven and roast until the salmon is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

Plate the salmon and drizzle a little pesto over each fillet. Serve immediately.

Each of 4 servings: 560 calories; 37 grams protein; 6 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 43 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 94 mg cholesterol; 3 grams sugar; 321 mg sodium. 

SALMON WITH TOMATO, DILL AND GARLIC SOUP

Total time: 50 minutes | Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound salmon fillet, pin bones and skin removed
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon canola or other neutral oil, divided
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2/3 pound ripe tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce, or to taste
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 lightly packed tablespoons chopped fresh dill, feathery tops only
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • Black pepper

Directions:

Briefly blot the salmon dry with a paper towel before cutting it into 1-inch chunks. In a large nonstick skillet, heat one-half teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the salmon and sear, turning once, until lightly browned, about 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Do not worry that the fish is not completely cooked; the fish will cook further in the soup. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

In a 3- or 4-quart saucepan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato and salt, then cover and simmer until the tomato breaks down, about 4 minutes. Uncover and add the salmon, fish sauce and water. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat and use a ladle to skim and discard any scum that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, so that the ingredients dance in the broth, and cook an additional 15 minutes to develop and concentrate the flavors. If you are not serving the soup right away, remove from heat and cover.

Just before serving, return the soup to a simmer. Taste and add extra salt or fish sauce, if desired. Add the dill and garlic and turn off the heat. Ladle into a serving bowl and sprinkle with the pepper. Serve immediately.

Each of 6 servings: 197 calories; 16 grams protein; 3 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 13 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 42 mg. cholesterol; 667 mg. sodium. California CookbookFrom drinks to desserts, we've got everything you need to make your most delicious meals ever. Get cooking! Search

Want more easy dinner recipes? Follow me on Twitter: @Jenn_Harris_

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