Broiled salmon: one hell of an optimist

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My friend Scott uses the phrase “you’re one hell of an optimist” a lot. It cracks me up every time I hear it because of the juxtaposition of the negative phrasing with such a positive word like optimist. It also accurately describes my cooking aspirations much of the time. I aspire to cook good meals as often as possible, but sometimes it just isn’t that easy.

Take tonight, for instance. It has been a long 7 days. I turned 30 on Monday and celebrated all last weekend. It was awesome! That said, I definitely used up all my extraversion. On top of that, this week turned out to be one of the busiest I’ve had since I’ve worked at my current job. Two days of literally all-day meetings where significant amounts of thought and careful analysis were required left me exhausted. I left work at 7:30 tonight after catching up on a project I’d had to put off all week, and when I finally got home, I was in no mood to cook, but decided to anyway. However, I’d prepared for that eventuality, so I threw together one of my favorite no effort meals: broiled salmon.

Shopping

  • 1 salmon fillet (1/3 lb and/or 4-6 ounces)
  • 1 can whole cut green beans
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1-2 vegetable boullion cubes

I feel like a lot of people don’t cook with fish because it’s perceived as being expensive or complicated. It can be both, but it doesn’t have to be either. I snagged a 1/3 lb of salmon from Kroger yesterday because I thought I might have a day like today. It cost $2.80. 5 ounces of salmon isn’t that much, so I generally offset it with a lot of rice. I bought 10 pounds of rice for like $6 a while back and it has served me well. I also generally want to eat vegetables in life, so I grabbed a can of green beans for like a dollar as they’re easy and decent in the health arena.

Preparation/Cooking

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Set the oven to broil. Combine the cup of rice with 2 cups of water, the can of drained green beans, and a vegetable bullion cube in a pot. Add another tsp of salt and a tbsp of butter or oil for a little more flavor. Stir the bullion cube in to make sure it dissolves. Get it to boiling, turn it to low, cover, and let it steam for about 20-25 minutes. You could cook this in actual broth/stock instead, but that’s expensive and we’re cranky and exhausted, so that sounds miserable.

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There are many ways to season salmon. A dry rub is by far the easiest/laziest, and that’s what we’re going for tonight. Mix equal parts brown sugar and Old Bay in a tupperware container. If you want it to be a little less hot and more sweet, you can do a 2/1 ratio with more brown sugar. I generally use about 1 tablespoon of each per salmon fillet and it works out. I also tend to make way more than I need so I won’t have to do so on nights like tonight. Once that’s done, coat the non-skin side of the salmon with it. You’re looking for a thin layer of it on all the exposed meat. Put the salmon on a foil covered baking pan. When the rice has about 10 minutes left, put the salmon on a high oven rack and let it cook for 8 minutes. If your salmon is thicker than an inch, let it cook for 10 minutes. Spend those 8 minutes sipping on a glass of bourbon to feel classy. Take it out, remove the skin (it should just peel off), and throw on a bed of the rice/green bean mixture.

Eat

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The salmon has a little bit of a kick from the Old Bay that’s balanced pretty well by the sugar. It’s not the best salmon ever, but it takes literally no work. If you’re willing to dirty up more than 1 pot, you can cook the green beans separately in their own juice until it’s pretty much evaporated. If you aren’t overly averse to sodium and want them to taste good, you can also add some olive oil and a bullion cube in that as well for additional flavor.

The next blog will be about my Blue Apron experience, and it includes the best recipe I’ve ever made, so I’m excited to write it. For now, I’m going to sleep.