When I was in grade school, there were not a lot of organized sports leagues for girls. If you wanted to play team sports, your opportunity arrived in 7th grade when you could try out for our public middle school teams.
When that time arrived, I thought I would give field hockey a go! Why not, I thought to myself? My new friend, Martha was going to try out and I wanted to hang with her. I was a good swimmer and played some tennis so how hard could field hockey really be?
Pretty hard it turns out. Maneuvering a small ball around a field with a wooden stick while other people were chasing you was not my forte (as I thankfully discovered during gym class which saved me the embarrassment of going to try outs!). Trust me – competitive field hockey + me = trip to the hospital, no doubt.
So what’s a girl to do? I was a cheerleader, yes it’s true.
Thankfully, I was also fairly capable at indoor “sports” (and I don’t mean squash). I danced – ballet and eventually tap dancing (I begged my mother to let me tap – it was much more FUN). I studied piano from the time I was 7 until I left for college. And I spent most of my high school afternoons in the theater (a synonym for auditorium in the case of my school), which I suppose was the “organized team experience” of my high school days.
So, what does this all have to do with salmon?
Despite my lack of athletic prowess, my daughters have spent a lot of time on the playing fields over the years like many of the children in your lives I am sure. Soccer, basketball, softball, lacrosse, tennis, volleyball, you name it. As long as there wasn’t a rink or a live animal involved, they generally participated.
I have great memories of my husband coaching, the thrill of victory and the “on to the next” of defeat. And I will cherish the 10-week sprint friendships shared with so many parents on the sidelines. You can learn a lot on those sidelines and this past lacrosse season was no different. Of course, we absolutely watched, cheered and commented on the game, but we also chatted about the fate of prom dresses seen on Facebook, college choices, restaurants and that nagging question that keeps coming up on a daily basis, “What is for Dinner?”.
For many, making a dinner plan is like getting a daily poke in the eye around 6 pm! The demands on our time often fight with our energy to get a healthy and appealing meal on the table.
Salmon with Orange-Avocado Salsa is an easy dish that you can put together in under 30 minutes. While it meets the requirements of a quick weeknight meal, it could definitely be served at a dinner party as well.
The inspiration for this dish came from an old Bon Appetit recipe that can be found here. My husband isn’t a huge salmon lover, but he will eat almost anything with heat and avocados! I tweaked the salsa ingredients a bit and chose to oven bake the salmon at 350 which resulted in a moist, perfectly cooked piece of fish in 18 minutes (I find higher temps cause the fish to seize and cook unevenly).
You can make the salsa while the fish cooks and if you don’t have oranges, you can try grapefruit or mango. Serve it with other fishes as well.
The asparagus at my local farm looked gorgeous so I roasted some in the same oven alongside the fish to serve as a side dish. This is hardly a recipe, but just drizzle the spears with a little extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper before placing in the oven.
A gorgeous piece of salmon
I chose to cut the salmon down the middle like this. I prefer this presentation and the pieces cook more evenly. I really need a new cutting board.
Salmon is an oily fish so I skipped drizzling it with additional oil and just sprinkled the pieces liberally with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
The color of Cara Cara oranges is just gorgeous. I’d like a sweater in this color so if anyone sees one in their travels, please let me know.
Luscious salmon with a healthy salsa is a meal on its own.
But why not add some asparagus! Brown rice too if you want!
Oh, and just for fun (and a little bit of nostalgia), here I am with my friend Brian Milauskas playing Lola in Damn Yankees! Check out Brian’s theater company, KIDSTOCK!
I hope you make this dish soon – tonight, even! Let me know what you think in the comments!
- 3/4 pound piece of salmon, skin removed and cut into 2 pieces of equal size
- 1 Cara Cara orange
- 1 small avocado, diced
- 1/3 cup sliced red onion
- 2 Tablespoons sliced fresh basil
- Juice of one lime
- Pinch of Cayenne pepper
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Make the Salsa: Peel orange and using a paring knife, cut along the membrane of each orange segment releasing them into a bowl (hold the orange over the bowl to catch any juices). Squeeze flesh of remaining orange to release all juice into the bowl with the segments. To the orange, add the avocado, red onion, lime juice, a pinch of cayenne pepper and kosher salt to taste. Add basil if using right away, otherwise add it when you put the fish in the oven. Stir salsa ingredients to make sure all the avocado is coated with juice.
- For the fish: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place salmon fillets on parchment paper on a sheet pan. Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (pepper is optional). Cook the fish for roughly 18 minutes until just cooked through.
- Serve the fish with a generous portion of the salsa.
Tips from The Kitchen Scout
You can ask your fishmonger to remove the skin from your salmon (his knife is sharper), or you can do it at home. Recipe is easily multiplied.
I made this dish last night(August 2016). I had made it once before yet couldn’t remember what month I saw it on…so I put ‘Salmon’ in your ‘search’ option and voila it appeared. Nice! It is so good and the combination of orange/avocado is amazing. The cayenne adds just the right amount of heat. I couldn’t find the Cara Cara oranges this time so I just used navel oranges, just as yummy!
Regarding removing the Salmon skin, I used to work in a fish market so removing skin was fairly easy with a SHARP KNIFE. I would ask at the market to have it removed when you get it though as they would of probably done a nicer looking job! * Love that photo of you as Lola in Damn Yankees
Thank you, Sarah! I am glad you enjoyed it! A sharp knife is key – I used to have a boning knife when I was in culinary school but not sure where that is right now but it would work well to remove skin I think.
I love your blog! I, too, have a love for the speciality stores in a Belmont and Watertown since I am first generation Lebanese. So many of your recipes are very inviting . Since I have retires, I have given Lebanese cooking classes through Concord Adult Education. The dishes included taboolee, humus, babaganoush , lubee, rice pilaf and Cousa . It was really fun.
I so look forward to your future posts.
Happy New Year!
Thank you, Claudia! I am so glad you are reading. Your dishes sound delicious!
I love the way you write, Valerie! This is a fun post – so relatable and clever. And the salmon recipe sounds like a keeper. I’m definitely trying this one.
Thank you, Jane! I really appreciate that and I hope you enjoy the recipe!
Looks yummy – beautiful photos and backstory! And I love the picture of you playing Lola!! Will try the recipe soon. Dave and I like to eat fish once a week and it’s usually salmon:)
Thank you, Ellen!
Loved that story Val. The salmon looks wonderful and maybe I could get even Bill to eat it with the addition of the avocado salsa. Beautiful pictures.
Thank you, Ellen! I hope you and Bill enjoy it!