Herb-Crusted Salmon with Spinach Salad
- 3 slices white sandwich bread
- 1 cup fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 4 skinless salmon fillets, (6 ounces each)
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 5 ounces baby spinach
- 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil; set aside. In a food processor, combine bread, parsley, and 1 tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper. Pulse until coarse crumbs form.
Place salmon on prepared sheet; season with salt and pepper. Spread top of fillets with Dijon; top with crumb mixture, pressing gently to adhere. Roast until salmon is opaque throughout, 11 to 13 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine lemon juice and remaining oil; season with salt and pepper. Add spinach and onion; toss to combine. Serve salmon with spinach salad.
Vinaigrettes are essential to making summer dishes more delicious. Obviously they make lettuces and veggies taste great, but they are capable of way, way more. Vinaigrettes serve as ideal marinades for proteins, turn room temperature grains into satisfying meals, and transform a bowl of chopped up fruit into a luscious dessert. Best of all: they’re dead fucking simple to put together.
Every vinaigrette recipe is a variation on a single template: three parts oil carefully whisked into one part acid. From there, you simply plug and play your favorite tangy liquids with your favorite fats, adding in bits of spices and sweeteners to best suit your fancy and/or your dish.
To improve on the formula, we like to add an emulsifying agent, like mustard, to help keep the dressing stable. That means no more bites of greasy lettuce because your vinaigrette broke and no more careful whisking— you can just throw that shit into a jar and shake it. Laziness-enabling aside, using emulsifiers changes the texture and that makes it taste better. It brings ingredients to your tongue at the same time and lets each of their contrasting qualities simultaneously enhance and restrain the others. The result is consistently unctuous and savory and bold vinaigrettes— instead of dressing that’s occasionally, and unpleasantly, greasy, salty, or astringent.
We’ve shared a few of our favorite recipes below— give them a try and certainly keep your eyes peeled this week for some pretty pictures of what we like to do with them— but don’t be afraid try this out on your own. Vinaigrette is a relatively low-cost, low volume investment for fucking around in the kitchen that yields high-impact flavors and can change a meal for the better. Mess with your favorite flavors and make something all your own.
Classic Balsamic Vinaigrette
Great for green side salads but possibly better as a marinade for grilled chicken.
- (the oil) 3/4 cup Olive Oil
- (the acid) 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
- (the emulsifier) 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
- 2 tsp of bruised Thyme leaves
- A pinch of Salt and plenty of Black Pepper
Lemon Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
Particularly rad on melons.
- (the oil) 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
- (the acid) Juice from 1 Lemon
- (the emulsifier) 1 tbsp Greek Yogurt
- 1-2 tbsp Honey
- 1 tsp Poppy Seed
- A pinch of ground Cinnamon (optional)
- A pinch of Salt
Sesame Miso Vinaigrette
On cold noodles, rice pilaf, or a nice thick piece of fish before it hits the pan.
- (the oil)1/3 cup Peanut Oil
- (also the oil)1 tbsp Sesame Oil
- (the acid) 3 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
- (also the acid) 1 Lime, juice only
- (the emulsifier) 2 tbsp Miso Paste
- 1 thinly sliced Scallion
- 1 tsp Sesame Seeds
Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Sandwich
1 lb cooked, shredded chicken
1/2 cup barbeque sauce
1/4 cup pineapple juice
4 1/2″-thick slices of pineapple
4 King’s Hawaiian hamburger buns
coleslaw, optional (recipe below)
2 cups thinly shredded green cabbage
1 cup thinly shredded red cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup greek yogurt
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
My 3-Day Crock Pot Experiment
I don’t own a crock pot, but I borrowed my mom’s, and the idea was to see if I could make dinners that were enjoyable enough to warrant the purchase of a crock pot of my own. A little silly, I know, but a fun challenge nonetheless.
Monday: Pot Roast
It was really nice to come home to a warm meal simmering away. The meat was pretty dry after 11 (!) hours, but still edible. I asked Dan for feedback and he said that the gravy helped offset the dryness of the meat (although I wish it had been a little thicker). Next time I’d probably make mashed potatoes on the side and skip the potatoes in the crock pot. There were plenty of leftovers for my lunches this week.
Tuesday: Pulled-Pork Fajitas
I liked how the flavors in this dish were very different from the pot roast. Dan said that the dish was very juicy, but that could probably have been prevented in the way I served it. Instead of frozen vegetables, like the recipe called for, I used fresh and was really pleased with the little bit of crunch they added. There were TONS of leftovers that I froze and will probably do something very different with (pulled pork fajita pizza, maybe?).
Wednesday: Vegetarian Chili
This recipe made an enormous amount of chili! We had my cousin over and three of us barely made a dent in it. My freezer is officially stocked after this week. The unanimous verdict seemed to be that it would taste better with meat, go figure. But as far as the crock pot’s usefulness in this recipe, I’ve made stove-top chili in 30 minutes that tasted just as good. Not a fail, but not really necessary to have something simmering away all day, either.
I like things I can get done in the morning, like working out, running errands, and preparing dinner. This challenge showed me that the crock pot is perfect for that. Having dinner ready and waiting meant I could spend my afternoons doing more important things, like reading YA fiction, throwing squeaky toys for Wicket, watching 30-year-old Woody Allen movies and drinking wine. We all have our priorities.
So, I definitely accomplished my challenge. However, I’m not sure I need to own my own crock pot. Borrowing from my mom every now and then might be enough. I bet I would get sick of the recipes if I used it more than once or twice a month.