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JeanMarie Brownson: Stuck on what to cook for dinner? Give salmon a go

JeanMarie Brownson, Tribune Content Agency on

Salmon saves dinner. Seriously. This delicious fish cooks in no time and always feels like a treat. Salmon welcomes a world of flavors, such as soy and lemongrass, tomato basil sauce and spicy salsa. The meaty, rich fish is perfect for the grill, oven or microwave.

I’ve enjoyed my subscription to Alaskan salmon shipped frozen directly to my home. Other options include the deep-red wild-caught salmon sold fresh or frozen at reputable fish markets. If farmed salmon is an option, check the label to be sure the fish has been farmed responsibly. When purchasing frozen salmon, be sure to thaw it slowly in the refrigerator to maintain the moistest flesh when cooked.

For a fast dinner for one, microwave a 6 to 8-ounce portion of salmon as follows: Put the salmon fillet in a baking dish and drizzle with teriyaki sauce and a few drops of dark sesame oil. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and microwave on high (100 percent power) until the flesh is opaque and starting to flake when tested with a fork, 2 to 3 minutes. Let stand covered for a minute or two to finish the cooking. Sprinkle generously with thinly sliced green onion.

Company for dinner? Oven-roasted salmon leaves the cook plenty of time to enjoy guests. Marinate the salmon in fresh citrus juices in advance, then roast the rich fish with small heads of bok choy for a sheet pan dinner sure to impress. Serve the salmon with cooked brown rice. Start the meal with a cup of chilled creamy avocado soup. Fresh berries and lemon sorbet will make this a dinner to remember.

Roast Salmon with Citrus and Bok Choy

Makes 4 servings

2 pieces skin-on, center-cut salmon fillet, 12 to 14 ounces each

Grated rind of 1/2 orange and 1 small lemon

2 tablespoons each, fresh: orange juice, lemon juice

2 tablespoons tamari or low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon refrigerated lemongrass puree or lime juice

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional

2 1/2 tablespoons expeller pressed canola oil, safflower oil or sunflower oil, divided


Salt, freshly ground black pepper

3 heads baby bok choy, about 10 ounces total

3 green onions, thinly sliced

Chopped fresh cilantro

1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving

Cooked brown or white rice, for serving

1. Pat fish dry. Mix orange and lemon rind, juices, tamari, lemongrass puree, garlic, crushed red pepper and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a baking dish. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the fish and turn to coat all sides with mixture. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes or, refrigerate covered up to 4 hours.

2. Heat oven to 400 degrees on convection or 425 degrees with conventional setting.

3. Cut bok choy lengthwise in half. Place in a single uncrowded layer on an oiled, rimmed large baking sheet and drizzle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast 8 minutes. Flip over and move bok choy to the edges of the pan so there is room for the salmon.

4. Place fish in the center of the roasting pan. Drizzle marinade over everything. Return to the oven and roast until bok choy is fork-tender and fish is opaque and nearly flakes, about 10 minutes. Transfer the bok choy to a serving platter. Turn the broiler on in the same oven and broil fish until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add to platter.

5. Garnish with green onions and cilantro. Be sure to spoon any pan juices over everything. Pass lime wedges to squeeze over all. Serve with rice.

(JeanMarie Brownson is a James Beard Award-winning author and the recipient of the IACP Cookbook Award for her latest cookbook, “Dinner at Home.” JeanMarie, a chef and authority on home cooking, Mexican cooking and specialty food, is one of the founding partners of Frontera Foods. She co-authored three cookbooks with chef Rick Bayless, including “Mexico: One Plate at a Time.” JeanMarie has enjoyed developing recipes and writing about food, travel and dining for more than four decades.)

©2022 JeanMarie Brownson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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