One of my staple go-to quick dinners is something I call an oven meal. It’s a meal that after a little bit of prep can be finished in the oven. A meal where most of the cooking time is for the actual cooking and not the prepping. After a long day at work, it’s nice to have a few recipes that you know do not take much effort to make. Baked salmon and asparagus is a meal I’ll have at least once a month (if not more!). The preparation simply involves seasoning the salmon, and trimming and seasoning the asparagus. Add both of those to the oven, and soon you’ll have delicious flaky salmon and crisp asparagus! The salmon and asparagus alone can be a complete meal, but sometimes I like to enhance the meal by adding a sauce or topping to the fish. This time I was inspired to top the salmon with a braised cucumber yogurt sauce based on a recipe from The Washington Post (link here). The sauce adds a refreshing freshness to the meal and can be prepared while the rest is cooking.
Cooking Time: 20-30 minutes Servings: 2
- 1 lb Salmon Filet (skin on or off)
- Bundle of Asparagus
- Olive Oil (enough to coat baking sheet, asparagus, and skillet)
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- 1 Cucumber
- 1/4 White or Yellow Onion
- 1/2 Tomato or 6 Cherry Tomatoes
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 2-3 tbsp Greek Yogurt
- 2-3 tbsp Creme Fraiche
- Juice of 1/2 Lemon
- 2 Sprigs of Dill
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil. Drizzle olive oil on one of the baking sheets.
- Pat down salmon fillet with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture before placing it on the oiled baking sheet. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper, and set aside.
- Trim the ends off of the asparagus and spread evenly across the second baking sheet. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.
- Place both the salmon and asparagus in the oven, and cook until the salmon reaches 135 degrees F and the asparagus is crispy, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a skillet with a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Dice the cucumber, onion, tomato, garlic, and dill, being sure to peel and remove the seeds from the cucumber before chopping it.
- Add the onion to the pan and cook (sweat) until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the cucumber, tomato, garlic, and dill, and continue cooking for another 2 minutes.
- While the vegetables are in the skillet, combine the Greek yogurt, creme fraiche, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Add the mixture to the skillet after the two minutes have passed. Reduce the heat to low, stir to combine, and cook the mixture for another 2-3 minutes until it is warmed through and slightly thickened.
- Cut the salmon into two equal sized portions. Plate the salmon along with the asparagus. Spoon some of the cucumber yogurt mixture over the salmon and serve.
Steps 1-4: My go-to seasoning blend is garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. It goes well with pretty much everything, and adds a little extra flavoring than just salt and pepper. I intentionally didn’t include the amount of spices in the recipe because I rarely measure these. The way I judge how much to use is to gently sprinkle the jars across whatever I’m seasoning (like the salmon and asparagus) until there’s an even coating. Like most things with cooking, eventually you’ll figure out the ideal amount to add to fit your personal preference.
I added a cooking thermometer to the salmon (see picture on left) before adding it in the oven so that I would know for certain when the salmon was done. There are ways to judge how long to cook fish or meat without checking the temperature, like cooking it for a certain amount of time and then judging the doneness based on texture and appearance, but the best and most accurate way to know when it’s done is by temperature. When using a thermometer, be sure to place it in the thickest part of the fish or meat, and to make sure it is not touching the pan (that will make the reading wrong).
Step 5: Finished versions of the salmon and asparagus!
Steps 6-8: Ingredients for the cucumber yogurt sauce. You may notice the grape tomatoes and the pre-diced yellow onion. I decided to use grape tomatoes instead of a typical tomato because I already had them in my fridge. If I can substitute something in my fridge for something I need to buy for a recipe, I will. I used the pre-diced onion because I absolutely hate chopping onions! For a reason I have yet to identify, I’m very sensitive to chopping raw onions (cue tears every time!). Expect to see a lot more packages of pre-diced onions because unless I can’t find them, I will always use that instead of getting whole onions. Plus, it saves a lot of time when it’s already diced!
Step 6: The picture on the left shows how I remove the seeds from a cucumber. I find the easiest method is to cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds from each half using a spoon. You can leave the seeds in (and you can leave the skin on), but I prefer to remove them.
Step 7: If you compare the color of the onion in both pictures, you can see how the onion on the right is a bit darker and more translucent. I unfortunately forgot to take a photo of the mixture after adding the yogurt and creme fraiche, but imagine the picture on the right, but creamier!
Step 9: Finished product! Gracefully modeled by my hungry spouse 🙂