Seafood

Sheet Pan Salmon

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Sheet Pan Salmon, ready to eat.

I will confess to you that there has been a veritable conspiracy of events keeping me from posting until now, not the least of which has been a discussion I happened upon on Facebook where the topic was on whether food bloggers should stick with the recipe and cut the chatter. I was dismayed at how many people seemed to feel that a blogger should “just post the recipe already!” Oh, and one person commented that one photo will do, please and thank you very much.

I thought about that conversation long and hard and juxtaposed it against the comments I’ve received from people who have told me they seldom (or never!) make my recipes but they love to read my stories. And the folks (especially inexperienced cooks) who have thanked me for pictures of the cooking steps and found them helpful. AND that my byline is “Telling the stories of the food we love to eat”.  I thought of how much of the food we eat is connected to memories. Throughout this soul-searching reflection, I decided that recipes without chatting are like a journal in which the entries are purely mundane. Like, “I got out of bed this morning, brushed my teeth, made breakfast and ate it, swept the floor, sent the hubby to work and the children to school, did the laundry, vacuumed the floor, welcomed said children and hubby home again, prepared supper and ate it, then everyone went to bed.”  Repeat the next day.  And the next. Exciting reading, is it not? I can’t wait to read it again in 25 years.

Disclaimer #1: You may be able to tell that this is a very traditional household.

Disclaimer #2: I do agree that the chatter should revolve around the recipe. Like this post does, haha.

SOOOO… onward and forward, at least for now. Into every blogger’s life a little rain must fall. Before we know it, blogging will go the way of the dinosaur, and I was barely even a toenail.

This recipe came to be after a conversation in which a newly-diagnosed celiac was despairing of ever having good food again. I recommended my Salmon, Sweet Potato and Apple Roast recipe to her as an example that she could still enjoy lots of great food and promptly felt like making it again myself. I added taco seasoning this time because we like spice and who doesn’t like taco seasoning? I changed up a few other things as well. One new convenience is that it all roasts in one pan, not separately. I’m not sure why I didn’t think that could work the first time. I used Atlantic salmon, which is less expensive but not as good. I have a nice red Coho salmon waiting in my freezer for the next time. That’s my favourite; it has a thinner skin and a less fishy taste.

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There you go, chipped plate and all. Fit for a celiac king.

Next up: Apple Strudel for your Valentine!

This recipe is sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm. For better or for worse, the blog is all mine. 

All kinds of root vegetables, as well as greenhouse veggies like the spinach and sometimes kale are available at Martin’s, even in the dead of winter. You could use any combination you wish in this recipe.

Sheet Pan Salmon

Ingredients

Sheet Pan Salmon, ready to eat.

Sauce:

  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (or concentrate)
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I like grainy brown Dijon)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons taco seasoning mix (I mix my own)

Sheet Pan:

  • 1 1/2 – 2 pounds whole salmon fillet or pieces
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 4 medium potatoes, unpeeled, washed and cut in chunks
  • 1 medium red or cooking onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 cups thickly sliced celery
  • 3 cups fresh kale or spinach, washed and cut into pieces
  • 3 apples

Directions

Preheat oven to 450° F or 232°C. Whisk or shake together all the sauce ingredients. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment or foil. Lay the salmon in the centre of it, skin side down. Brush with half of the sauce. 

Toss the vegetables (except for the kale/spinach) with the remaining sauce in a large bowl. Surround the salmon with the vegetables, saving the kale/spinach for later. 

Bake for 20 – 30 minutes, until the salmon flakes easily at the thickest part when you insert a fork and twist slightly and the vegetables are done to your liking. Sprinkle with the chopped kale or spinach to serve. Plate it with half of a sliced apple on the side for an attractive and easy meal, and healthful to boot!

 

Salmon, Sweet Potato and Apple Roast

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Salmon, Sweet Potato and Apple Roast
Salmon, Sweet Potato and Apple Roast on a bed of spinach
I grew up fishing. I fished with my dad, my grandma, my grandpa, and my siblings. I recall getting up as the sun was just beginning to peep over the horizon and going with Dad down the long hill in the woods behind us to the river. Back then it was probably the only thing in the world that could get me out of bed early voluntarily! Then we would wade through the long, dewy grass in the flats beside the river; the long fronds as high as my waist. Often we caught only shiners, small perch or rock bass or sometimes, ugh, a sucker. But every now and then, oh joy of joys!, we would catch a nice black bass. Then we would trek back up the hill with our catch (or not!). Dad would expertly filet them and Mom would dust them simply in flour, salt and pepper to pan-fry them. Boy, oh, boy that was tasty. Even though we were a large family, Mom and Dad made sure we got away on a vacation most summers. Usually it was to a cottage area, and Dad always made sure it included good fishing. As a result of these childhood experiences, nearly all of our Kraemer tribe loves fish to this day.

Most of my kids also love to eat fish, so when my daughter asked what we’re having for Sunday lunch on a rare weekend when she was home from college, I immediately thought of the salmon fillets I had tucked in my freezer for such a time as this. I had also promised to include apples in my next blog, sweet potatoes team superbly well with apples, and the rest, as Dad used to say, is history.

I found a recipe for baked salmon that I tweaked to adapt to the addition of sweet potatoes and apples. And I call it a “roast” because that word rings more sweetly in my ears than “bake” does. It sounds a lot more sophisticated, I think. And salmon is the epitome of fish sophistication, no?

 

It was simple; once again I made one sauce mixture that I divided between the meat and the vegetables, like I did in my last post. It worked out great; the salmon and the sweet potato/apple mixture roasted in about the same amount of time, and while they were roasting, we “spinached” the plates and set the table. Best of all, it tasted wonderful! Even Steve liked it. He did not grow up fishing. He grew up feeding hogs and picking apples, so guess what he likes to eat? Yup; you guessed it; pork. And apples. In fact, you could substitute pork loin or chops for the salmon in this recipe and it would be equally as good, I’m sure.

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Isn’t this just so gorgeously Fall? We’ve got all these goodies at Martin’s. I am so lucky.

 

Salmon, Sweet Potato and Apple Roast
Salmon, Sweet Potato and Apple Roast on a bed of spinach

Sweet potatoes grow underground as tubers. I found it fascinating that Steve’s mom grew them in her garden, because I had understood that they are hard to grow. They are high in beta carotene, fibre, and rapidly digestible starch. In other words, they’re good for you, unless you’re highly diabetic. We also love them roasted whole in the oven or microwave and eaten with butter, salt and pepper. Are sweet potatoes and yams the same thing? As a a matter of fact, all yams are sweet potatoes, but not all sweet potatoes are yams. For an explanation of that cryptic statement, click here.

I used a Honeycrisp apple in this dish because you want to use a firm apple that will not turn mushy when roasted. Honeycrisp is an amazing apple that works well for just about everything you want it to do. It has taken the apple world by storm and turned it right side up again. We hear over and over from our customers, “I thought I didn’t like apples, then I had a Honeycrisp”. It is always crisp, very juicy, has a thin skin, and the texture of the flesh is almost like that of a Japanese or Bosc pear. It is also our most expensive apple by far, for several reasons. We call it the Cadillac of apples. Empire, Spy, Gala, Ambrosia, Russet or Crispin (also called Mutsu) all work well for a smaller pricetag.

 

Salmon, Sweet Potato and Apple Roast

Ingredients

Sauce: 

Salmon, Sweet Potato and Apple Roast
Salmon, Sweet Potato and Apple Roast on a bed of spinach
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (or 2 tablespoons from concentrate)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried)
  • 3 Ontario garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I like grainy brown Dijon)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of dried chili or Cajun spice (optional)

 

  • 1 1/2 lbs. (4 – 6 pieces) salmon fillets
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, washed, unpeeled
  • 1 medium onion, peeled
  • 1 large or 2 medium firm apples, washed, unpeeled (I used Honeycrisp)
  • 4 cups of fresh spinach, washed and dried
  • poppy seed dressing, or other dressing of your choice

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 450° F. Whisk or shake together all the sauce ingredients. Line two separate baking sheets with parchment or foil. Lay the salmon on one pan, skin side down. I cut my skin off; not half as expertly as Dad would have, I might add. Cut sweet potatoes and onions in 1″ chunks. Lay them in a single layer in the other pan. Cut the apple into 1″ chunks as well, but don’t add them yet.

Spread half of the sauce over the salmon fillets. Pour the remaining sauce over the sweet potatoes and onions and toss them lightly until coated. Put both pans in the oven and bake them for 15 – 20 minutes, based on the thickness of your salmon. While the meal is roasting, set the table and spread 1 cup of spinach on each plate. Test your salmon after 15 minutes by sticking a fork in the thickest part of the fish and twisting lightly. If it flakes and doesn’t look raw, it’s done. If not, give it another 5 minutes. At this point, add the apple chunks to the other pan and roast them for 5 minutes as the sweet potatoes finish. Remove both pans from the oven.

To serve, divide the sweet potato/apple mixture on top of the spinach, then top with the salmon. Pour any pan juices over the fish. We found there wasn’t a lot of juice left over so we drizzled a bit of poppyseed dressing over the spinach. Because we like heat, I also snipped a bit of dried red chili pepper over the fish. Laying a slice of lemon on top would also be gorgeous. Happy fishing!