When you're looking for a simple weeknight dinner solution, you can't go wrong with salmon. The fish cooks up quickly and can be used in a variety of dishes, whether you're planning for company or a quiet dinner with the family.
Salmon bisque: With the depth of flavor in this rich and creamy soup from Robin's Restaurant in Cambria, you'd never guess it came together in less than an hour. Butter, leeks, mushrooms and garlic form the base of this soup, layered with crushed tomatoes, chopped fresh herbs and cubes of fresh salmon. The salmon cooks in just minutes, the fragrant soup thickened at the end with cream. Yes, it's that easy.
Roasted salmon with red pepper hazelnut pesto: Roasted red peppers are a perfect smoky base for this rustic sauce, brightened with a little lemon and dotted with fresh chopped chives. But it's the toasted hazelnuts that take this pesto to another level. Enticingly fragrant, they lend a wonderfully rich depth to the finished sauce. We loved this pesto served over roasted salmon, though it would pair equally well with other fish, poultry or roasted vegetables.
Oven-steamed salmon with dill mayonnaise: If you're looking for easy, it doesn't get much better than oven-steamed salmon, according to Los Angeles Times Food Editor Russ Parsons. With his recipe, you simply steam salmon on a baking sheet in a 250-degree oven over a baking pan filled with boiling water. The salmon is ready in about 20 minutes, when the fish just begins to flake. While it's cooking, whisk together a quick dill mayonnaise (mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, fresh chopped dill and shallots and a little lemon juice), and you're good to go. Simple, right?
OVEN-STEAMED SALMON WITH DILL MAYONNAISE
Total time: 40 minutes | Serves 6 to 8
1 (1 1/2- to 2-pound) salmon fillet, in 1 piece
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon minced shallots
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup minced fresh dill
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1. Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Place the salmon, meat side up, on a cutting board and feel along the surface of the flesh with your fingertips just above and below the midline. If you feel pin bones, pluck them out with tweezers or needle-nose pliers. Season the salmon with one-half teaspoon salt, or to taste, and place on a jellyroll pan lined with lightly oiled aluminum foil.
2. When the oven is ready, place a baking pan on the floor of the oven and fill it with boiling water. Place the pan with the salmon on the rack. Cook until a paring knife or toothpick penetrates the flesh easily, 20 to 25 minutes. Note that the flesh will be somewhat denser than usual and that it won't change color as much as with other cooking methods.
3. While the salmon is cooking, prepare the dressing. Combine the mayonnaise, shallots, mustard and dill in a food processor or blender or use a mortar and pestle and puree until fairly smooth. There should still be some dots of herbs visible. Add lemon juice and puree again. Taste, correct seasoning and set aside.
4. When the salmon is done cooking, there will probably be some white collagen collected on the surface. Moisten a pastry brush with oil and lightly brush it away.
5. Serve the salmon on a large platter with a bit of the mayonnaise spooned to one side. Serve the remainder of the mayonnaise in a bowl to pass. Tell your guests to scoop up the salmon with a spoon, leaving the skin behind.
Each of 8 servings: 407 calories; 21 grams protein; 1 gram carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 35 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 71 mg cholesterol; 0 sugar; 406 mg sodium.