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I adore Thanksgiving. It loves me back. It is my favorite holiday out of the whole year.  There’s nothing that makes me more thrillingly anticipating than to bring the last of the sage in, save bread for dressing, take stock of my canned pumpkin supply, or bake cranberry bread along with any pie you can name. To say nothing of the fact that I don’t like Christmas decorating (or shopping or wrapping), but can’t wait to put up pumpkins, corn stalks, leaves, scarecrows, and all things autumn come October. Ok, September.

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Dave and his famous Gas Grill-Pan Roasted Turkey (And yes, it’s totally done and yes, we had drippings.)

But then one day, after making the last pot of turkey soup, throwing away one final questionable piece of pie, and freezing the 2 servings of cauliflower casserole left in one sad little Chinese take-out container, I’m over it. I’m ready for spaghetti and meatballs, lamb chops and fennel, stuffed beef roast (below), or hamburgers and fries with lots of ketchup. No, I’m not ready for Advent, but I am screaming ready for change. .
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Bring on a side of salmon and the green beans I didn’t make last week. (I know you made green beans.) Crank the oven up to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and throw it all in for 20-25 minutes total.  Not only did I not really have to cook, but I had time to open a bottle of wine, pour two glasses, and set the table — barely — before a hot dinner was ready.  Want whole grains, too, for balance, your heart, or appetite?  Serve each of the salmon pieces on 1/2 cup well-seasoned brown or wild rice. A teensy bit of butter in the rice wouldn’t hurt, either. (I use Minsley’s small containers of microwavable rice –Costco.)
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A pound of salmon will just feed 4 people, as will a pound of green beans.
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You’re good to go if you’d like to share this with friends on a Saturday night with maybe the addition of some salad and cheese along with a tasty bottle or two of wine.  

If there are just two of you, use the leftovers the next night to make a great Greek-Cobb Salad. (Fresh greens, salmon, boiled eggs, blue cheese, kalamata olives, bacon…)

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or you could dive into my salmon tacos:

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Last ditch, stir the rest of the salmon into your breakfast scrambled eggs with chopped fresh tomatoes, and serve it on buttered rye toast.

img_3168SHEET PAN DINNER:  DIJON SALMON WITH GARLICKY GREEN BEANS AND MUSHROOMS

 4 servings

You could easily sub asparagus for the green beans, though it might take somewhat less time to cook. Thickly sliced or cubed zucchini would also be fine. My directions call  for 2 pans and for starting the green beans 10 minutes before the salmon-–which should make the salmon close to medium-rare.  If you’d like the salmon medium, cook them both together–salmon on the top rack, beans on the center rack. As always with fish, you must use your own good sense as some sides of salmon are larger or thicker than others. No fear here! 

  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed and patted dry
  • 4 ounces sliced button or other mushrooms
  • olive oil
  • Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch crushed red pepper or Aleppo pepper, if you have it
  • Side of salmon–approximately one pound
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced thinly
  • 4 small, sliced ripe tomatoes seasoned with black pepper (garnish)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Adjust racks so that one is at center and one is above.

PREPARE AND ROAST GREEN BEANS:

In a large bowl, toss the beans with mushrooms, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, and a pinch of crushed red or Aleppo pepper.  Turn the beans and mushrooms out evenly onto a 1/2 sheet pan ( approx. 13″x18″x1″). Place on lower rack of oven and roast for 10 minutes before adding salmon. Meanwhile, prepare salmon.

PREPARE AND ROAST SALMON:

Cover a second 1/2 sheet pan with two overlapping sheets of foil across the shorter side (13 inches)  that extend 3-4 inches on each side of pan. Place salmon, skin side down, at center, lengthwise. Dry the fish a bit with paper towels.  Brush salmon evenly with Dijon-style mustard and season with 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Spread slices of red onion evenly on top of fish.  Fold the sides of the foil up and around the fish, completely sealing to create an airtight package.  Place on upper rack of oven and roast for 15 minutes or until barely firm but still juicy. (Does it flake when tested with a fork? It’s done.)  Let rest a minute or two before cutting into pieces.  FYI:  USDA says 145 degrees for salmon; many chefs prefer stopping cooking at 125 degrees F; the fish will come up a few degrees while resting. 

SERVE:

The entire meal should be done in 20-25 minutes.  Slice salmon and serve on warm plates with mushroom-green bean mixture and small sliced tomato for garnish.

Cook’s Note:  Many stores have a good-value frozen side of Sockeye (or other) salmon.  To thaw: place the salmon in its plastic wrapper in a large pan or sink of cold water for about an hour before roasting. (You can also leave the salmon in its wrapper in the fridge overnight.)  The easy thing about this is that you can keep fish in your freezer for when you need it. There’s not always time to run to the store for fresh fish, which may have been previously frozen anyway!

You can sub sliced lemons for the onions or use both.

{printable recipe}

Sing a new song or listen to an Advent favorite of mine:  “Make my Life a Bethlehem” by Craig Courtney and Patricia Martin (Beckenhorst Press)

Alyce