December is here. I’ve done the unthinkable! I’ve started back on a diet. If you’ve seen how much I’ve been baking recently you’re probably cocking your head in a quizzical manner because WTF? It’s true, my job is somewhat hazardous to things like diets. I am constantly baking and constantly eating seasonal goodies that are handed out from various PR firms or restaurants. I can’t turn down free food. Last night I found myself at a doughnut party. I know what are you supposed to do at a doughnut party when on a diet? The answer is carpe diem… eat the doughnut. But overall, I’ve been trying to eat a bit better. Watch my caloric intake and keep it colorful. Colorful can be easy during christmas but low calorie… now that’s a completely different game. As I thought about dinners and festivities my mind quickly went to fish. It’s my fall back in the health world. I find that most fish doesn’t need as much saucing. And I’ll be honest when I decided to combine my favorite winter salsa with a classic slow roasted salmon, I patted myself on the back because I had done what I thought would be really hard… and y’all it took me all of 15 minutes to figure out how to accomplish a healthy but still festive Christmas entree.
This dish combines a beautiful slow roasted salmon with the tart and spicy flavors of a winter salsa. When having a large dinner filled with some picky eaters, I’ve found that basics are always winners. Everyone, except vegetarians and vegans, will eat salmon. It’s one of those fish that people just accept. It is the chicken of the fish world. It’s not so plain that you’re instantly bored, but it’s also not so fishy or flavorful that the more conservative eaters won’t touch it. And have we talked about how gorgeous salmon is? Also for anyone trying to keep it healthy, salmon is definitely a healthier meat option than the Christmas classic, ham. Plus those Omega-3s will have your really important organs (think brain and heart) feeling really great.
Typically at this point, I’d warn you about some tricky step that might go wrong, but honestly, this is one of the easiest recipes I’ve created. I will say this, because y’all it happened to me, jalepeno hand is a real thing. When slicing and dicing your jalepeno, the oils from the pepper may irritate your hands. Now some people use gloves, but sorry I’m not into surgical vibes in my kitchen. When I made this for my boyfriend we quickly dashed out the door after devouring dinner, and as we sat in the cab on the way to Williamsburg my fingers began to sting. I had the dreaded hot pepper hand. I thought it was a myth. It’s not! Some quick ways to get rid of your jalepeno hand if this should happen to you: oil, alcohol, yogurt, or baking soda paste. I found that alcohol (like the kind you clean a cut with) was the most helpful. Make sure you pay attention to this because being stuck in Brooklyn far away from home while your fingers tingle and sting all night is not how you want to spend your Saturday. PREACH!!
This recipe calls for a smoked salt. Y’all I fell in love and her name is Laguna. Ok but really I did. I’m newly obsessed with this smoked salt. I have added it into the recipe because I really do feel like the smokiness of the salt lends itself well to the spice of the salsa. If you aren’t feeling adventurous or just don’t have this while you are making your salmon, I recommend you use malden salt. The chunkiness of the salt will add an extra texture to your dish.
The big bonus to this dish is that if you have a decently large party coming over, this is a pretty simple prep. My stand by with most entrees is roasting, and that is because it really is a no fuss kind of situation. While your salmon is cooking and marinating in lovely flavors, you’re able to prep your salsa. The timing works out perfectly, and you’ll feel like you didn’t miss very much conversation. Sidenote: If you are throwing a party, I recommend you make your winter salsa before your guests even arrive. That way you’ve got that out of the way and you really won’t miss any gossip around the wine and cheese. And most importantly you won’t miss the WINE and CHEESE.
1 medium fennel bulb
1 lemon sliced
1, 2 lb salmon fillet
2 tbsp olive oil
Laguna Smoked Salt
6 oz cranberries sliced
1 jalepeno diced
1/2 red onion diced
1/4th c chopped mint
salt & pepper
flat parsley for presentation
1.Preheat oven to 275° F. In a shallow 3-qt baking dish add salmon, fennel, and lemon. Season with oil and smoked salt. Sprinkles a handful of cranberries over the salmon.
2. Roast Salmon for 30-40 minutes. A knife should be able to slide through the salmon easily.
3. While the salmon is in the oven, prepare the winter salsa: combine cranberries, jalepenos, and pepper in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix.
4. On a large serving platter, layer parsley around the sides. Layer the winter salsa over the parsley. Lastly transfer salmon to your platter, breaking it into large pieces, and over the spread.
And just like that you’ve got a healthy fish dinner fit for any Christmas meal.