Seattle has shifted into Fall, it’s true. If you live here, have friends here, watch the national weather reports or generally have ever heard of Seattle, you’re probably not surprised. But before I completely let go of the white knuckle grip I’ve had on Summer for the past 12 or so weeks, let’s look at a quick and easy weeknight meal, shall we? King Salmon fillet baked in the oven with a simple brown sugar glaze, served with a sizable dollop of house made chimichurri sauce and a cabbage salad that just won’t quit.
There’s really no need to make this out to be something more complicated – this is clean food, minimal ingredients and cook time, with bright flavors that basically speak for themselves. In fact, the salmon prep only has 5 ingredients total and I could probably have my awesome nephews prep this under next to no supervision (not that my sister would go for that because boys, spatulas and tiny fistfuls of brown sugar do not a clean kitchen make. But I digress.).
First we deal with the salmon. Preheat your oven to 400F and prep a quarter sheet pan (or a rimmed baking sheet) with parchment (or tin foil that you’ve prepped with a nonstick spray). Prep your fillet or have your fishmonger take care of that for you. What does that mean? Good question. Basically you’re cleaning the skin (which you leave on to bake and then either leave on the baking sheet and pull the fillet away with a spatula, or leave it on and serve whole), checking for bones and patting it dry. There is a variation of this dish where I sear the fish in the cast iron skillet on high heat for a couple minutes and then finish it in the oven. This makes the skin super crispy and you can just eat it all up if you’re game!
I give the salmon a dusting of salt and pepper, then a thin coating of mayonnaise, finally crumbling brown sugar over the top. The mayo seals in the fats of the fish, and the brown sugar creates a glossy, faint sweetness that still has a nice depth to compliment the flavor of the fish quite nicely.
You’re only cooking the salmon for 10minutes TOPS. It should be portioned out already per person and this fillet is about 7oz. I like to slightly undercook the fish to keep the delicacy of the meat and body of the fillet at the best possible texture. The chimichurri I had laying around as I always do, and you can find that recipe elsewhere on the blog by searching in the top search field. The cabbage salad was insanely easy and has no recipe. One head of baby cabbage that I essentially shred with my mandolin or a sharp chefs knife. The dressing has a dash of this and that, including fresh grated ginger, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, gluten free soy sauce, fish sauce, sunflower butter, olive oil salt and pepper. Whisk it all together, snip in some scallions, currants and pepitas. Then douse the cabbage, toss vigorously and put in the fridge as far in advance as you can to the meal – up to a day. The longer it sits, the better it gets, and lasts me about 3 meals. (3 single servings)
Something about the crunch of the cabbage against the tahini and slight umami of the fish sauce goes perfectly with the sweetness of the brown sugar glaze on the salmon. If you make this salad ahead and have it laying around, this entire meal can be in your face in under 30 minutes (because we still have to wait for ovens to preheat people, we’re not made of magic, okay?)