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8 quick and easy salmon recipes to shake up your weeknight dinner routine

Eight different toppings flavor slow-roasted salmon, with eight veggie-based sides, to shake up your usual weeknight dinner routine.
Eight different toppings flavor slow-roasted salmon, with eight veggie-based sides, to shake up your usual weeknight dinner routine. Prop styling by Rebecca Buenik.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)

We all know salmon is healthy for us, but it’s kind of like the chicken of the aquatic world: reliable and a bit boring. To help pull you out of your usual salmon routine, here are eight options to flavor a whole side of salmon, and another eight recipes for sides to make while the fish slowly bakes in the oven.

All of these recipes use a 2-pound side of salmon (if using wild, a whole side from smaller sockeye or coho types or a center-cut piece from king is great); most use pantry staples, so if you have the fish already in your fridge or freezer, you can make a meal with it in less than an hour start to finish.

To go along with the salmon, these eight veggie-based sides add crunch and cold contrast — and come together faster than the salmon bakes. Armed with a new arsenal of 64 possible combinations, you won’t be bored with salmon anytime soon.

A side of salmon is one of the easiest weeknight meals to prepare; here it gets roasted slowly in the oven until tender.
A side of salmon is one of the easiest weeknight meals to prepare; here it gets roasted slowly in the oven until tender. Prop styling by Rebecca Buenik.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)
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Master Slow-Baked Salmon

45 minutes. Serves 4 to 6.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Place one 2- to 2 ½-pound skinless side of salmon in a shallow baking dish that fits it with at least 1 inch around all sides. Rub the fillet on the top and bottom with olive oil then season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the topping of choice from below, making sure it coats the top and sides.

Bake until the flesh is opaque on the outside and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the salmon reads 120 degrees for medium doneness, 30 to 45 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet (if you want your salmon just cooked through, take it to 130 degrees). Remove the pan from the oven and let the salmon rest for 5 minutes. Serve family-style, straight from the baking dish with the side of your choice.

A fresh sauce made with tomatoes, red onion and green chiles flavors this whole side of salmon, shot with the side of Cool Crunchy Cucumbers.
A fresh sauce made with tomatoes, red onion and green chiles flavors this whole side of salmon, shot with the side of Cool Crunchy Cucumbers. Prop styling by Rebecca Buenik.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)
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Fresh Chile-Tomato Sauce

Puree ½ cup roughly chopped red onion, 4 garlic cloves, 2 plum tomatoes, 1 serrano chile (stem removed), ¼ cup olive oil in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and pour over the salmon to cover completely before baking. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, if you like, before serving.

Italian-style salsa verde, here made with dill, walnuts and lots of lemon zest, brighten slow-roasted salmon, shot here with the side of Cocktail Carrots
Italian-style salsa verde, here made with dill, walnuts and lots of lemon zest, brighten slow-roasted salmon, shot here with the side of Cocktail Carrots. Prop styling by Rebecca Buenik.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)

Dill and Lemon Salsa Verde

Toast 1 teaspoon each fennel seeds and cumin seeds in a small skillet until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and crush to a rough powder (or crush the seeds with a heavy skillet on your cutting board). Use a microplane to finely grate the zest of 1 lemon into a bowl. Halve and juice the lemon into the bowl. Stir in the crushed spices, 1 packed cup roughly chopped dill fronds, ½ cup chopped walnuts and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and scatter over the top of the salmon as soon as it comes out of the oven.

Homemade barbecue sauce
Homemade barbecue sauce, here flavored with umami-rich red miso, is slathered on a slow-roasted side of salmon, shot here with the side of Sweet and Sour Peppers. Prop styling by Rebecca Buenik.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)
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Miso Barbecue Sauce

Place ¼ cup red miso in a medium bowl. Using ½ cup ketchup total, stir in a dollop of ketchup to loosen the miso and prevent lumps. Stir in another couple spoonfuls, then stir in the remaining ketchup. Add 2 tablespoons each honey and white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon Asian chile garlic sauce, 1 teaspoon each freshly ground black pepper and onion powder and ½ teaspoon garlic powder and stir until smooth. Spread evenly over the salmon before baking.

A spicy, smoky al pastor-style rub, made with ground chiles and spices, flavors, along with fresh pineapple, a roasted side of salmon, pictured here with the side of Coriander-Lime Radishes. Prop styling by Rebecca Buenik.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)

Al Pastor Rub

In a small bowl, stir together 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder, 1 tablespoon canned, chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, 2 teaspoons each dried Mexican oregano, ground cumin, and honey, 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar, and 4 minced garlic cloves into a paste. Rub the paste evenly over the salmon then arrange ¾ cup thinly sliced pineapple (buy the prepared stuff from the deli section of your grocery) on top of the salmon. Drizzle the pineapple with more olive oil and bake the salmon.

Fragrant orange and lime juices, along with oregano, allspice and garlic, flavor this Caribbean-influenced side of salmon
Fragrant orange and lime juices, along with oregano, allspice and garlic, flavor this Caribbean-influenced side of salmon, pictured alongside the side of Creamy Green Celery. Prop styling by Rebecca Buenik.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)
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Spiced Citrus Mojo

In a small bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon each white wine vinegar and olive oil, 1 teaspoon each ground coriander, ground cumin, and freshly ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, and 6 minced garlic cloves until smooth. Use a microplane to finely grate the zest of 1 orange and 1 lime into the bowl. Halve and juice the orange and lime into the bowl and stir to combine. Pour the marinade evenly over the salmon and let marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes (optional) before baking.

Whole radicchio leaves, spiced with chile flakes, wilt down to crispy chips atop a roasted side of salmon with salt-cured olives, all shot here with the side of Sesame-Sizzled Beets. Prop styling by Rebecca Buenik.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)

Spicy Radicchio and Olives

In a large bowl, toss 1 head radicchio, leaves separated but kept whole, with ½ cup salt-cured black olives, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and ½ to 1 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes. Season with salt and pepper then scatter the mixture over the salmon, letting any leaves and olives that fall onto the baking dish stay there, before baking. After baking, squeeze over the juice of 1 lemon before serving.

Old-fashioned Jewish-style brisket glaze
An old-fashioned Jewish-style brisket glaze, made with ketchup and red wine, flavors this slow-roasted side of salmon, served here with the side of Curry-Mustard Cabbage. Prop styling by Rebecca Buenik.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)
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A La Brisket

In a small saucepan, combine ¾ cup ketchup, ⅓ cup red wine (pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon), 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoons onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder and the leaves from 4 thyme sprigs (about 1 tablespoon) and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, to marry the aromatics and reduce the sauce slightly, about 5 minutes; remove from the heat. Place 4 fresh or dried bay leaves evenly over the salmon then spread the warm ketchup glaze over the fillet before baking.

Copious amounts of blackened, sweet garlic flavor a mustard-spiked mayonnaise to glaze this side of salmon
Copious amounts of blackened, sweet garlic flavor a mustard-spiked mayonnaise to glaze this side of salmon, shot here with the side of Herb and Chile Onions. Prop styling by Rebecca Buenik.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)

Charred Garlic Aioli

Place 12 peeled garlic cloves in a small skillet and set over medium-low heat. Cook the garlic, turning as each clove lightly blackens in spots, until the cloves are soft and charred all over, 13 to 15 minutes. Transfer the garlic to a cutting board and roughly chop. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon kosher salt then finely chop, using the flat side of the knife to scrape the garlic and salt together as you chop until it forms a sticky paste (or blitz the garlic and salt together in a mini food processor until smooth). Scrape the paste into a bowl, and stir in ½ cup mayonnaise and 2 tablespoons each Dijon mustard and red or white wine vinegar. Spread the mayonnaise completely over the salmon before baking.


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