Dinner Tonight: Roasted Salmon with Maple Vinaigrette
It’s a Friday and ‘I’m Hungry, But I Don’t Feel Like Cooking’ kind of night, so I tempted myself into the kitchen with the thought of a little experimentation. I don’t like recipes much, they stress me out -too exact. I’m more of a free-form cook. I knew we had some salmon fillets and that was motivational too. We had some other favs in the fridge as well: fresh spinach, a Vidalia onion, pure maple syrup, and a last surviving bit of quinoa.
The quinoa was the impetus as we only had a fourth-cup to feed the three of us who were homebodies on this Friday night. We had pasta last night and didn’t want that again, didn’t have potatoes, didn’t feel like beans, and already had rice earlier in the week. Little as it was, the quarter cup of quinoa won. I love an underdog.
While the salmon was thawing, I whipped up a 1-2-3 vinaigrette: 1 part extra virgin olive oil, 2 parts balsamic vinegar, 3 parts pure maple syrup. I made it in an old jam jar, added a bit of sea salt, fresh ground pepper, a tad bit of garlic powder, topped it with the lid and shook. It only takes a minute and it’s so much better than store bought.
Quinoa is super simple to make too. Check your package directions for quinoa:water ratio. Boil water, pour in quinoa, turn down to medium heat, put lid on pan, and let cook for about 12 minutes. Check to see that all water is absorbed, keep lid on, and remove from burner. Let sit for 15 minutes and fluff with fork. It can sit for quite a while before serving if need be. Sometimes I use chicken stock rather than water, but easy was the name of the game tonight.
The salmon couldn’t have been any easier to prepare… Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Choose a glass pan or other favorite baking dish that closely fits the quantity of fillets you are cooking. I like to use cooking spray for easy clean-up too. Put fillets in sprayed baking dish, spray a little spritz on top of fillets too. The oil seals in the juices, but by being a spray you’re not adding much fat to the meal. I think it’s a win-win. I seasoned the salmon with sea salt, fresh ground pepper, a slight bit of garlic powder, and a bit more liberal amount of cajun spice. Bake for about 15 minutes, depending on thickness. Be careful not to over cook. It’s a shame to have a beautiful piece of salmon and then dry it out.
The vinaigrette is already made, the quinoa will be done by the time the fillets are done, so while they are roasting to perfection in the oven you are free to prepare the dinner plates. Clean and dry spinach, slice the onion as thinly as you can (if they are translucent, they are thin enough). Put a bed of spinach on each plate, followed by some sliced onion, and use fork to sprinkle on desired amount of quinoa. Give vinaigrette another shake and use a teaspoon to drizzle a bit over plates.
As soon as salmon comes out of the oven, use a teaspoon to drizzle a bit of vinaigrette over the sizzling fillets, transfer onto their spinach beds, and top with a touch more vinaigrette.
I hope your family will enjoy this simple and healthy meal. Let me know what you think… Bon Appétit!