Friday, March 30, 2012

Simple Salmon and Grilled Asparagus "Fries"

Sometimes, nothing beats a simple meal. I’m all for trying complicated, multi-step recipes with a laundry list of ingredients on a quiet Saturday. Occasionally, Steve and I will make our own pasta, which is an event. In fact, I’ve been known to pass over certain recipes because they look too simple. But this salmon is quite delicious with a really simple, improvised marinade. It took us awhile to find the right way to cook it but now Steve is a salmon searing star! And I would honestly eat these grilled asparagus spears over French fries any day. Crispy, salty goodness, and way more healthy. I’m convinced even veggie haters would love them (I’m looking at you, Emily!). This is something you can easily throw together any weeknight when you’re too tired to try something complicated, and yet it’s elegant and tasty enough to have when you’re entertaining company.

Salmon Marinade
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp cayenne (optional)
pinch of salt
2-4 salmon fillets

I honestly eyeball this marinade completely. It's not one of those that has to be perfect. If you just get equal parts oil and soy sauce and a little bit of everything else, you're good. Mix all the ingredients aside from the salmon in a resealable plastic bag. It doesn’t have to be completely mixed, but just make sure the spices aren’t stuck to the side of the bag or something. Then put in your salmon, seal the bag with as little air as possible, and let them marinate in the fridge. As with most marinades, the longer you leave it in, the better. I tend to think 1-2 hours is the best.

We’ve started using the 2-2-2 method for cooking salmon, and it has been turning out perfectly for us. Keep in mind that salmon is generally not supposed to be cooked to a light pink all the way throughout. The chef recommended cooking of salmon is usually medium, so that the center is hot but not fully cooked. (Cooking it so it’s light pink throughout is akin to cooking your steak well-done).

Heat a little oil in a skillet and when it’s hot, start with your skin side down for two minutes. Move it just a little after about 30 seconds just to make sure it’s not sticking. Then flip it and cook for another two minutes, using the same technique. Finally, flip it back once more (skin side down) and cook for about 2 minutes more. It’ll be more if the salmon is thicker, less when it’s thinner. You can actually tell how it’s cooking by looking at the side of the salmon—that’s what the inside will look like. Now you're ready to grill the asparagus!

Bunch of asparagus spears
Olive oil
Garlic powder

Grilling asparagus is kind of a revelation. The little bit of char is just perfect. Start by chopping the bottoms off your asparagus (that part is hard and chewy). Next, put the asparagus on a plate or in a rectangular Tupperware. Drizzle with oil. You don’t need to go crazy, just enough that will cover the asparagus when you mix it up. Sprinkle on kosher salt and pepper. I say for this, don’t be stingy. But you know how salty you like things so adjust accordingly. Also sprinkle on garlic powder. Use your hands to mix it up and make sure all the asparagus is coated. Heat up your grill and use tongs to place the asparagus directly on it. Make sure you go across the grate so that you don’t lose spears! Cook them for about 4-6 minutes, rotating them so that no sides get burnt, but they do get a little char. You know they are done when they are a little bendy, but not limp. Pull them off the grill and serve with your salmon. If they even make it that far. Anyway, as you can see this is super fast, very simple and incredibly tasty as well. 

(click here for printable recipe)

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