Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Garlic-crusted salmon with tomato basil relish

I love salmon!  There, I said it.  Really, though, who doesn't like salmon?  If salmon were a high school student, it'd be the Ferris Bueller of its class.  Salmon is just laid-back, cool, and gets along with anything.  Even self-proclaimed seafood haters I know will clarify that even though they don't like fish, they will eat salmon.


Why not enjoy salmon instead of just eating it?  If you like it, give it the four star treatment and, maybe, just maybe, you'll learn to love salmon!

Makes sense, right?

If I had to pick only one protein, poultry, fish, or meat, to eat the rest of my life, I'd choose salmon.  Hands down!  It's more substantial than lighter white fish but doesn't come with a fishy smell or taste.  And it's flavor is so mild that it's the perfect canvas for almost any spice, dressing, or addition.

In other words, it's practically fool-proof. 

So, when I spotted this recipe combining some of my favorite ingredients with salmon, I was intrigued.  Tomato and basil are fast friends, but I've never had tomatoes with salmon.  And salmon always benefits from a marriage with anything from the citrus family.  

When I laid out the ingredients to make dinner last night, I had a hunch it would be awesome.  I mean, look at the cast of characters I had: super sweet grape tomatoes, a fresh lemon, and the world's best basil that has been flourishing right on my own window sill.

(Yes, you can grow your own herbs indoors and it tastes so much better than the stuff from the store that's outrageously overpriced.  FYI, basil loves sunlight so put it in a bright spot.)

Turns out that hunch was holding back just a bit.  What was a hunch should've been some kind of mental parade with a marching band.

Talk about the most farm fresh dinner I've made so far this year!  It just screamed summertime, people.  The vibrant colors!  The fresh flavors!  The ultra satisfying spread!

And, even the heart-healthy and waist-friendly benefits.  I won't tell if you don't.  Mention the "h" word (that's "healthy"), and people will start to whisper.  Whispers lead to talking, and talking leads to rumors, and rumors never lead to anything good.  After all, I don't want salmon to lose its cool factor.   Otherwise it might wind up with a fate like that of Tracy Flick.  Yikes!

Come on, go ahead and love salmon.  Everybody's doing it.

One year ago: Monster cookies
Two years ago: Peanut butter & jelly cupcakes

Garlic-Crusted Salmon with Tomato Basil Relish
(adapted from The Cozy Apron)
-serves 2

For the salmon:
2 6-ounce boneless, skinless salmon fillets
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 Tablespoon olive oil

For the relish:
½ cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Pinch fresh pepper
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Combine the garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, lemon zest and juice and olive oil, and whisk with a fork to combine; place the salmon fillets onto one of the lined baking sheets, and rub the garlic-oil mixture evenly onto each fillet; set aside to marinate for 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the tomato basil relish by simply tossing the ingredients together in a small bowl -- that's it!  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve with the salmon.

After marinating, bake the fish for 8-9 minutes until moist and flaky inside with a golden-brown crust.  Plate salmon and top each piece with half of the fresh cherry basil relish.  Serve with a vegetable of your choice (roasted green beans are my fav with this!) and enjoy!

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