Monday, January 27, 2014

Roast Salmon and Broccoli with Chili-Caper Vinaigrette

I always have my eyes peeled for new salmon and chicken recipes.  I have my favorite recipes, but I can't help thinking that there might be something better (or just different, but still worth trying) out there.  When I have a really nice thick wild salmon fillet I want to sear it and eat it medium-rare, but when the salmon doesn't seem quite as fresh or it's not quite as thick, I like to roast it. This time the salmon was a little too skinny for searing so I decided to roast it.  And then I poked around online for a bit.  The thing that really drives me nuts about salmon is how many people seem to love it lacquered or glazed with some sort of random and quasi-Asian sauce.  I feel like every third recipe I found either called for teriyaki sauce or sugar/maple syrup/honey in the marinade or glaze.  I have been suckered into one or two of those recipes and regretted it every time.  I don't want my salmon to be sticky sweet - sweet fish just doesn't do it for me.  I also don't want dairy with my fish (unless it's lox and cream cheese on a bagel).  I will make an exception for creme fraiche (on rare occasion) and butter is always fine, but I can't understand the combination of mayonnaise and salmon.  It just weirds me out.  

This recipe, which I had considered making a few times in the past, looked both easy and intriguing, which is a really nice combination for a meal mid-week.  More importantly, it didn't trigger any of my instinctive aversions (i.e. there was no mayonnaise, teriyaki or sugar required).  When we were making dinner and I saw the chili-caper vinaigrette I was a little worried that the elements of the dish wouldn't really work together.  The combination of jalapenos, rice wine vinegar, capers and evoo just seemed (and looked)... strange.  But once you put it all together the flavors worked surprisingly well together.  One commenter on Epicurious called the combination of flavors "surprisingly delicious" and that's exactly how I felt.  I thought it would be interesting at the very least, but I didn't have high expectations.  I used the vinaigrette pretty sparingly because I didn't want it to overpower the flavor of the salmon and I thought that the bright, briny and slightly spicy flavor worked really nicely with the richness of the salmon and the slightly nutty flavor of the roasted broccoli.  This recipe won't replace my favorite Salt and Pepper Salmon, but I can definitely see us making it again - it's easy and tasty.

Recipe after the jump!

Roast Salmon and Broccoli with Chili-Caper Vinaigrette
Bon Appetit
October 2013

1 bunch broccoli (about 1 1/2 lb.), cut into florets
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
4 6-oz. skinless salmon fillets
1 red Fresno chile or jalapeño, thinly sliced into rings, seeds removed if desired
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons drained capers

Preheat oven to 400°. Toss broccoli and 2 Tbsp. oil on a large rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until browned and crisp-tender, 12–15 minutes.

Remove baking sheet from oven and rub salmon with 1 Tbsp. oil; season with salt and pepper. Push broccoli to edges of baking sheet and place salmon in the center. Roast until salmon is opaque throughout, 10–15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine chile, vinegar, and a pinch of salt in small bowl and let sit until chiles are slightly softened, about 10 minutes. Mix in capers and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil; season with salt and pepper.

Serve salmon and broccoli drizzled with chile vinaigrette.

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