Many of my Harvard kids (I teach and work at the University) complain that they don’t know how to cook. I mean, why should they? Their parents have taken care of them up to the point that they arrived here, and once here the dining halls take care of the rest. But even though we educate their minds, we don’t do such a great job teaching them about the practical logistics of life after graduation. Since most of them know about my gastronomic pursuits, they always ask me to teach them how to cook; this blog is one avenue for those lessons. So, kiddos: here’s a SUPER easy one for ya. It’s got 3 basic ingredients, a few items from the pantry, and requires only a cookie sheet, a pyrex baking dish, and a big ol’ bowl – but it’s delicious, healthy, and pretty enough to serve up to company, like when your parents come to visit you during that gap year to see where all the money they’re sending you goes…
I forgot to take a set-up shot, but here’s what you’ll need:
Simple Baked Salmon with Spuds and Spinach (for 2)
1 lb fresh salmon fillet
12 oz baby spinach
1 lb baby red potatoes
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), white vinegar
sea salt, cracked black pepper, crushed red pepper, dried oregano
Meanwhile, place your fillet of salmon into a baking dish large enough to hold it (this is an 8″x8″ pyrex). Cut your lemon in half; squeeze one half of it over the fish, and slice the other half into thin rounds. Pour a glug of EVOO over the fish, too, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then layer the sliced lemon over the top. Throw this in the same oven as the potatoes and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Spill these into the bowl over the spinach with all the hot oil which has accumulated on the pan, add a glug of vinegar (about a teaspoon or so), and toss this very well. The heat from the spuds and fat will wilt the spinach.
The salmon is done when it is completely opaque. The oil and lemon juice will help keep the fish nice and moist; just use a spatula to divide the fillet in half and to slide the fish onto your waiting plates.
And there you have it: succulent, juicy, flavorful, healthy salmon served with creamy-interior, crunchy-exterior roasted potatoes and gently wilted spiced greens. Serve with or without some crusty French bread, and call it a day. You will be impressed with yourself, and your guests will think you’re the tops! All this only takes 30 minutes of cook time, and a mere handful of ingredients. If you can’t make this, my dear Harvard children, then you should have spent less time planning to change the world and more time tending to your diet. Lucky for you, I’m here to help you through. You can thank me later, when you win those Nobel prizes and become CEOs of your own Fortune 500 companies. Don’t worry – I can wait.