This is a simple weeknight meal that we’ve made a couple of times in the past few weeks. It’s flexible, easy, and since most of the time for this recipe is the cooking time, which is largely unattended, it’s the perfect dish for busy nights when you need to do some work or house cleaning (or baseball game watching) while dinner cooks.
A few words about the ingredients for this dish. The must-haves are the salmon, the olive oil, and the cherry tomatoes. Everything else is optional and you should feel free to add other vegetables depending on your preferences. Do you like roasted beets? Add them (but be prepared for a very reddish dish). Hate fennel? Leave it out. Carrots, potatoes, turnips, parsnips, rutabagas, garlic… all good. You could probably even make this dish with extra firm tofu instead of salmon. This dish takes about 10 minutes of active work and 40 minutes for cooking. It’s a one dish, one spoon, and one knife meal, making cleanup a breeze.
- 1 pound salmon, with or without skin
- 2 bulbs fennel, trimmed of excess outer leaves and quartered
- 1-2 medium onions, cut into wedges
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 4-5 baby summer squash or 2 full sized summer squash, cut into chunks
- 1-2 cups of cherry tomatoes
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400.
- In a large baking dish (13x9x2), mix all of the vegetables with 3-5 Tbsp of olive oil. Start with 3 Tbsp and toss well, If all of the vegetables aren’t coated, add another Tbsp.
- Bake for 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
- Remove the pan from the oven and push the vegetables to one side.
- Season the salmon with salt and pepper and place it in empty space you made in the baking dish.
- Return the dish to the oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes, based on thickness of the salmon.
- Plate a piece of the salmon with two generous scoops of roasted vegetables. Optionally, serve the vegetables over rice.
Notes: This is such a versatile dish. You can use pretty much any vegetables you have on hand, but I urge you not to skip the cherry tomatoes. They soften and infuse the whole dish with such a fantastic sweetness. You could use full sized tomatoes, but sometimes the skin on them is a bit too thick to be palatable. The flavor of the fennel softens so if you don’t much care for fennel in salads, give it a try here. This dish would be great with tofu if you’re looking for a vegan alternative.
One last tip about salmon: when cooking, if you see the white stuff that oozes out the top and sides of salmon, don’t panic. That white stuff is called albumin and it’s a protein that you see when a piece of salmon has exceeded the perfect level of doneness. It’s edible. In theory, a piece of salmon should be cooked until just before the albumin becomes visible. But, for those of you new to cooking salmon, or those who like their salmon a tad bit more done, just cook it until you start to see some albumin. It’s an easy visual cue that lets you know when to take your salmon out of the oven. As you can see from the photographs, I let our salmon cook just about 2 minutes too long. However, since the center was so thick, that made for a very moist piece of fish with just a tad bit less moisture towards the edges. Since you have a good amount of roasting liquid from the vegetables though, you don’t have to worry about drying out your fish.
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