Looking for a simple weeknight dinner solution? A satisfying meal that won't take all night to prepare? It doesn't get much easier than salmon, which cooks up quickly and can be used in a variety of dishes.
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 to 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 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?
You can find the recipes below.
ROBIN'S SALMON BISQUE
Total time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 to 8
Note: Adapted from Robin's Restaurant in Cambria, Calif.
1/4 cup salted butter
1 cup sliced leeks
1 cup sliced white mushrooms
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2¾ cups (22 ounces) clam juice
2 cups crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, plus fresh sprigs for garnish
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups cubed fresh salmon (bones removed and cut into ½-inch cubes), about 1½ pounds
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups heavy cream
1. Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat until hot. Add the butter, and, when it is melted, stir in the leeks, mushrooms and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the leeks are translucent and soft.
2. Stir in the clam juice, crushed tomatoes, chopped parsley and dill, and season with the salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then stir in the salmon. Continue to simmer until the salmon is fully cooked, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. While the soup is cooking, whisk the flour into the heavy cream in a small bowl. Slowly add the cream to the soup when the salmon is cooked. Continue to simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
4. Ladle the soup into bowls, and serve garnished with dill sprigs.
Each serving: 475 calories; 21 grams protein; 10 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 40 grams fat; 20 grams saturated fat; 147 mg cholesterol; 4 grams sugar; 535 mg sodium.
THYME CAFE AND MARKET'S ROASTED SALMON WITH RED PEPPER HAZELNUT PESTO
Total time: 1 hour
Note: Adapted from Thyme Café & Market
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
1. 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.
2. Remove the pesto to a bowl and stir in the chopped chives.
3. Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
4. 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.
5. Place the fillets in the oven and roast until the salmon is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.
6. 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.
OVEN-STEAMED SALMON WITH DILL MAYONNAISE
Total time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8
1 (1½- to 2-pound) salmon filet, 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.
6. 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.