Story originally appeared on FoodCary.
Cary, NC — This recipe has become the one I’m known for. It all started just over two years ago when I had invited over the woman I was dating for our first meal at my place. I knew it needed to be something fresh, something healthy, something impressive — but also something that I couldn’t screw up.
I had spent hours diving into blog posts and trying to find the perfect dinner, and as luck would have it, I did. I still make it regularly for both of us more than two years since that night. Now I’m not saying this is the magic food of romance, but hey, worth a shot!
Starting with ingredients, as long as you keep a decently stocked spice rack, the beauty of this dinner is you will likely only need to purchase 3 or 4 items from the store. Check out the recipe notes below for tips on the type of salmon I recommend and how to adapt the recipe for your gluten-free and dairy-free friends.
- A few heads of broccoli crowns, chopped into bite-size pieces. Aim for 1-2 lbs. depending on the number of people you’re cooking for
- 2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Salt and black pepper
- (6 oz) skinless salmon fillets, get one for each person eating
Mix in One Bowl:
- 1 1/2 Tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice (zest lemon first)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
Mix in a Second Bowl:
- 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
Okay, deep breath. That seems like a lot, but just take it one step at a time.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Get your rimmed baking sheet or stone ready to go! For a quick and easy clean up you can use aluminum foil.
- Place broccoli in a mound in the center of the baking sheet. Pour olive oil over broccoli along with garlic and toss to evenly coat.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and spread near edges of the baking sheet, leaving enough space in the center to fit salmon fillets.
- Salmon time! Put those bad boys front and center with about 3/4 inch between each fillet so they cook nice and evenly.
Note: Skin. It can be gross or, for some people, they love it. I used to have the grocery store butcher cut the skin off for me, but a lot of the time I would be paying for the full weight with the skin on and some of the meat would get taken off by them in the process. So, now I put the salmon, skin and all, right on the pan and after cooking, the fish is so tender that you can use a spatula to separate the fish meat from the skin, making it easy to toss the skin out and enjoy the good stuff.
- In a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice and garlic and brush on top of each fillet. Consistency should be similar to a paste. If it appears runny, add more mayo. Season top with salt and pepper.
- In a mixing bowl whisk together parmesan, bread crumbs, parsley, lemon zest and thyme, then drizzle 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil into the bowl and stir with a fork until evenly moistened. Spread the mixture evenly over tops of salmon fillets. Getting hungry yet? YUM!
- Bake in your preheated oven until salmon fillets have cooked through, about 12 – 15 minutes (for a more golden crust you can broil during the last 1 – 2 minutes of baking if needed).
Recipe Notes & Tips:
- The Salmon: When getting your ingredients, I recommend purchasing farm-raised salmon versus wild Alaskan. This is up to preference, but the reasons I like it best is the flavor is less “fishy,” they are generally a few bucks cheaper and it results in a nice color and pulls apart with ease.
- The Broccoli: Skip the frozen aisle and get fresh! It makes a difference! Also, if you like your broccoli more browned and roasted, then let it roast for 5 minutes, then remove from oven and spread to edges before adding salmon to the sheet pan. If you like it crisp-tender and slightly roasted, then no pre-roasting needed.
- The pan dilemma: If you make this for 2 or 3 people, all ingredients should fit on one pan, but if cooking for more people or if you’ve just gotten a lot of broccoli, don’t fret. Bake your salmon on one pan and the broccoli on another.
Gluten and Dairy Free Adaptations
- My better half has gone gluten-free and dairy-free since I first made the dish and we equally love the taste when I make the adapted version.
- For dairy-free folks, just take out the parmesan and double-check that your mayonnaise doesn’t contain any milk products. Most will contain egg but no milk.
- For gluten-free folks, swap out your bread crumbs for GF bread crumbs or chopped up nuts. We’ve found pistachios and cashews work very well.
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Recipe and photos by Ashley Kairis.