Oven-Roasted Salmon with Heirloom Cherry Tomato Summer Salad

Friday, August 13, 2010

I'm a big fan of heirloom tomatoes. Their exquisite juiciness and amazing rainbow of colors makes for the most festive and simplistic of summer dishes. I also love cherry tomatoes. Not only for their concentrated sweet flavor reminiscent of candy, but also for their low maintenance -- you don't even need a knife to cut them in half to prepare them!
So when late summer's bounty brings me heirloom cherry tomatoes (!), I squeal like a little girl and grab them all. The colors, the sweetness, the endless options...they are truly summer's favorite fruit. I grabbed some recently at my local Whole Foods (yes, complete with girlish squeal and all) and ran home to make dinner. On the menu: local Coho salmon, the tomatoes, and an avocado. And thus this following recipe was born.
I'm writing it a little differently this time -- not giving out specific proportions but rather guidance for you to manipulate the recipe according to how many people you are serving. This is very much an easily served dish in that the ingredients are directly proportional to the amount of people you want to serve.
Oven-Roasted Salmon with Heirloom Cherry Tomato Summer Salad

fillets of salmon (skin on), 1 6-oz fillet per person
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
potlach seasoning or smallest pinch of each: paprika, cayenne, red pepper, brown sugar, thyme
hickory salt (optional)
assorted heirloom cherry tomatoes, about 1/2 cup per person
1 jalapeno, sliced very thinly*
scallions, sliced very thinly --about 2 scallions per person
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1-2 avocados (1/2 avocado per person)
1 bunch cilantro, stems removed and roughly chopped (to taste)
1 lime, juiced
extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place some olive oil in a small glass container. Brush both sides of the salmon fillets with the olive oil. Set on a baking dish lined with aluminum foil (for easy clean up!). Season the flesh-side of the salmon with kosher salt, black pepper, potlach seasoning and hickory salt to taste. Bake in oven for 10-30 min depending on thickness and size of fish. A good rule is 10 min for every 1/2 inch thickness.
While the salmon roasts, make the salad.
Combine the tomatoes, scallions, jalapeno, garlic, avocado, and cilantro to taste in a bowl. I love cilantro, so for just my husband and myself I will use an entire bunch of cilantro, but you go ahead and put as much or as little as you like. Season the salad with salt and pepper to taste. Add the lime juice and drizzle some olive oil -- enough to wet the salad but not totally saturate it. Give it a good toss and it's ready to serve.
To plate, place salmon fillet on center of plate and spoon the salad over, with juices and all. Or serve the salad on the side of the salmon.
Salmon may be served hot out of the oven or at room temperature. Salad can be done up to an hour before but no more than that.
Serve with crusty bread if desired or as is.

*The heat in peppers lives in the seeds and "ribs" of the capsicum. So if you want your dish spicier, then add the seeds and all; if more mild, then remove the seeds and ribs with a knife. Not all peppers are created equal either, and their spiciness will actually depend on how hot it was outside when they grew. So take a taste before you cut and determin how much (or how little) of the pepper you want to actually use in your dish. The worst thing is to ruin a wonderufl dish by adding too much heat!

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