This salmon with roasted new potatoes is one of my favorite things to put on my budget table for two because of its natural star-quality. For under $25 and in under (well I’d like to say 25 minutes but I’m generally slow in the kitchen, so let’s go with 35,) you’ll feel like you’re dining in a farm-to-table cottage and be quite satisfied, too.
Unfussy enough for the chef to prepare while holding a conversation with her guest, but impressive enough to dim the lights and pop open a bottle of wine, it’s also high in protein and omega fats and gluten free. Another favorite characteristic of a dish like this is that it’s inherently “sauced” so there’s no need to break out bottles of marinade or measure much. Are you in?
Let’s talk about ingredients.
As always with simple but stand-out fare, you want to start with good, fresh ingredients. I bought a thick-cut piece of wild sockeye salmon from the fish counter at ShopRite for under $8, between 1/2 and 3/4 pound, the day I wanted to cook it, and was sure to look at the white lines– you want to grab a piece with visible, healthy and thick-looking white lines so you get good flake later. I like a more center cut than a tail for a roast because it’s richer.
Next I grabbed a few golf-ball size baby potatoes from the bulk bin, a few red and a few white. I find I prefer to give a light inspection for a nice exterior this way and I end up paying less since I’m choosing the count! Potatoes are pretty cheap anyway and so good when prepared well. And on my way past the produce I also picked up a broccoli crown, which is sold by the pound, a lemon, a small bag of arugula, a small green pepper, a little bunch of scallions for a dollar, and a mini bag of sunflower seeds for my side salad. I knew I had some straggler dill and parsley at home that I’d frozen from the summertime and planned to use those for my fish as well as a sprig of rosemary in the fridge for potatoes. If you don’t have any fresh herbs, just grab a small bunch of something; you don’t need much here but they take everything up a notch.
As a side-note, because I love chocolate, I was also sure to pick up a dark-chocolate-roasted hazelnut Ritter chocolate bar to break into a few pieces for a little dessert bite after this healthy meal (and they were on sale for $1.99).
I cook salmon once or twice a week, and am often experimenting with different techniques: whether a straight broil, a light sear followed by a roast, or a longer slow cook. I tend to like all of these options for different reasons, depending on what else I’m cooking, but for something like this, where I want the potatoes to be done at relatively the same time, and I’m not so much after crispy skin as moist meat, I go for a sort of hybrid cook and don’t bother with the stove top.
For the timing of this meal, you want to think: prep, start potatoes, start salmon. And while you have you’re hands off that stuff, you’ll handle the green and set the table. I like the rustic/haphazard look, with my favorite 2 big white plates, a tea-light candle in the corner and dimmed lights. When eating at home, I find that using my favorite serve-ware and going family style makes everything feel more special, drawn-out and relaxing.
I just love the combination of flaky, herby, lemony salmon with crisp on the outside, soft on the inside baby potatoes. Throw in a little tender green for good measure and you’re good to go. I hope you and your guest like it too!
ROAST SALMON AND NEW POTATOES FOR TWO with garlicky broccoli and Arugula salad
Fish + Potatoes
1/2- 3/4 lb fillet wild sockeye salmon, preferably more middle cut, not tail
Sea salt + pepper
About 1 Tbsp fine chopped fresh herbs (I used a combo parsley, dill and snipped scallion)
1/2 a small lemon
5-6 golf-ball size new potatoes, combo of red and white or just one color
Sea salt, cayenne and ground black pepper
Sprig fresh rosemary
Salad + Broccoli:
1/2 a small broccoli crown, cut into 4-5 large florets
1 teeny clove garlic
1 tsp butter
Big handful arugula
Strip of green pepper, diced
Small fistful crumbled cheese of choice (I had ricotta salata, feta is good too)
Sprinkle of sunflower seeds, toasted
coarse salt + pepper
1 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 t honey or maple syrup
2 T olive oil
Oven to 425 degrees F.
Halve the potatoes, then halve them again. Get two rimmed baking sheets out and place a small sheet parchment on each. Place potatoes in a bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil, big pinch sea salt + pepper and teeny pinch cayenne. With kitchen shears snip the rosemary thinly over the bowl so you have a smattering of herb specks. Use your hands to toss it up, then scatter coated potatoes on the baking sheet. Place in the oven on the center rack. Set the timer for 25 minutes.
Take the salmon out of the fridge and lay it aside on the other parchment-sheet pan. Mix the herbs together in a small bowl and moisten with a little olive oil. Salt and pepper the salmon all over. With your hands rub the oil/herb mix over the fish, taking care to wash hands after. Slice the lemon thinly and place 2-3 slices over the top of the fish. Let it sit.
Meanwhile place arugula in small bowl. Dice pepper, scatter on top, crumble cheese atop, sprinkle sunflower seeds and a pinch salt. In a small jar, pour all dressing ingredients and shake vigorously. Set both aside until serving.
When the timer shows 10 minutes left, check the potatoes, and give them a toss. They’ll need about ten minutes more so move them to the bottom rack, and place the salmon in the center rack. Let both go ten minutes.
While that goes, make the broccoli. Chop the tiny piece of garlic. Heat a small saute pan on medium and melt the little bit of butter. When it bubbles, place the florets in the pan, add a pinch salt and let one side cook for a minute or so. Turn over to get the other side. Add a few drops of water, lower the heat a little, and cover for a few minutes longer. Test with a knife for preferred tenderness. Sprinkle in the garlic, toss until fragrant, and remove from the heat, cover lightly.
When your timer rings, take your potatoes out, testing with a knife for easy tenderness. Set aside lightly covered. Check your salmon. At this point turn the oven to the broil setting and let it hit the top for about 3 more minutes. Test with a knife for just opaque flesh in the center that is starting to flake. Remove, and cover with foil for a minute or two-it will finish cooking in that last minute.
Transfer potatoes to serving dish and broccoli to platter. Turn out salmon to platter and easily remove bottom skin if desired. Squeeze any remaining lemon on everything, toss the salad with a little dressing and serve!
Blog post and recipe by Meredith of Salvegging.
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