Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Dinner Trenches: Baked Salmon, Roasted Potato Wedges, and Asparagus

Salmon, Potatoes, Asparagus

I know I am not alone here when I say that I hate planning meals. I love to cook, but the planning for a whole week? Not so much. In the marital years B.C. (before children) a plan wasn't really necessary and it was of no consequence if we didn't eat until 8:30. Then the wee people came along with their demands to be fed all the time and I realized I had to get more disciplined about making meals. every. single. night. Meals that are quick, nutritious, economical, and moderately liked by everyone at the table. Not a small challenge and one that I think I am not going to be able to meet week after week. It has taken me 18 years of marriage and 4000+ dinners to get it working pretty well.

I am not going to bore you with the details of how I get dinner on the table because a) why would anyone want to read that and b) that might not be the way it works for you. Instead, I am going to start sharing some posts that feature complete dinner meals that you can make quickly and sometimes in advance.

Ready? Let's get started.


For this dinner you will need:
  • 1 pound salmon fillet
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 4 medium size potatoes
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • the seasoning of your choice for the salmon (I used KC Masterpiece. Gourmet? no. Family Friendly? yes.)

Preheat your oven to 450' and scrub your potatoes. Cut each potato into eighths.

Potato Cuts
Coat a rimmed baking sheet with 1-2 Tbls. olive oil or canola oil. Make sure it is evenly spread over the sheet. Place the potatoes, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Leave space between each potato and do not overcrowd the pan or the potatoes will steam, not brown. Season with salt and pepper.


Roast the potatoes on the bottom rack of the oven (for the best browning) for 15 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking, wash and snap your asparagus. I like this method better than cutting because it ensures you don't get any tough ends. Hold your asparagus close to the end of the stalk and gently bend until it snaps.

Asparagus Snap
Place a piece of foil on half of another rimmed baking sheet and lay your uncut salmon fillet on top. No need to remove the skin from the salmon. After it is cooked you will be able to cut and slide the individual portions right off the skin. Season with 1-2 tsp. of your favorite seasoning. Place your asparagus next to the salmon and drizzle with 1/2 Tbls. olive oil, then toss to coat and season with salt and pepper.


Check the potatoes after 15 minutes to see if they easily release from the baking sheet and are browned on the underside; if not, then let them cook for another 5 minutes. If they are ready then flip them over on the baking sheet and put them back in the oven.

Place the salmon and asparagus in the oven on the rack above the potatoes and set the timer for 10 minutes. Your dinner is done when the potatoes are nicely browned on both sides. I test if the salmon's done by sticking a knife into the thickest part of the salmon and then touching the tip to my upper lip. If it is uncomfortably warm, then the salmon is done.

Make Ahead: The potatoes can be cut up and soaked in a bowl of cold water in the fridge as early as the morning of the day you want to make this. In fact, soaking the potatoes makes them even better. If you can soak them for even 30 minutes at room temp. before roasting it greatly improves the potatoes, but if you can't, that's alright too.  The asparagus and salmon can be prepped and placed in the fridge; just cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap. When you are ready to cook, drain and pat the potatoes dry and proceed with the instructions above.

No comments:

Post a Comment