It’s obvious that I like to cook. I love the creativity and discovery involved and of course I love eating the results. I also love the idea of cooking for other people, of providing them with a cozy meal and good company. But the reality of cooking for other people makes me duck and cover. I get nervous that something won’t turn out. I’ll burn it at the last minute or I’ll accidentally add too much salt, ruining the whole thing. Or (possibly worse) they’ll just think my food is kind of mediocre. This is why you see so many “serves 1″ recipes on this site. I just can’t take the pressure.
And so I got a case of the heart palpitations last night when Jeremy mentioned he was having a client over to do some work at exactly the same time that I was planning on making dinner. “But I’ve never cooked salmon steaks before! What if she hates bok choy? And how am I going to take my food photos without her thinking I’m a total weirdo?!?!”
Well, I solved that last problem by hiding around the corner in the kitchen and snapping some poorly-lit shots before serving the food. As for the rest? It turned out just fine. In fact, I don’t think I could have chosen a less fussy, more rewarding dinner for company. The brilliance is that everything goes in the oven at the same time and comes out at the same time. Very little risk of forgetting something and burning it. And salmon always bumps up the “wow” factor.
I chose to use salmon steaks because there was a killer deal on them at my local market. One good-sized steak can easily serve 2 people. Just divide it up after it cooks. You could easily use another cut instead but your cooking time may be different.
Salmon Steaks with Ginger Sesame Vegetables
– 2 salmon steaks (Wild-Alaskan preferred)
– salt and pepper, to taste
– 2 heads baby bok choy, sliced in half lengthwise and carefully washed
– 2 cups green cabbage, thinly sliced
– 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
– 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
– 1 tsp roasted sesame oil
– 1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and finely grated
– a few Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1. Preheat oven to 425F. Place salmon steaks in a small glass pan and season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Set aside. If you plan on serving this meal with rice, you can get that started now, too.
2. Place bok choy halves in a large glass pan and drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Top with salt.
3. In a large bowl, toss cabbage, mushrooms, remaining olive oil, sesame oil, and ginger together with salt. Add to the pan with the bok coy.
4. Put salmon and vegetable pans into the oven together. Bake for 12-16 minutes, depending on the thickness of your salmon. Stir vegetables about halfway through.
5. Before serving, divide the salmon steaks in half, lengthwise. Simply slide your knife along the line where the bones are. Remove the larger center bone and all the smaller bones where you cut. Don’t worry, they’re not too hard to find. You can also remove the skin before serving if you’d like. Serve with rice and top everything with toasted sesame seeds.