Mustard-crusted salmon with a green bean and grape tomato salad

Salmon gets a "creamy" treatment with a tangy mustard crust, complimented by a light and fresh green bean and grape tomato salad.

Salmon gets a "creamy" treatment with a tangy mustard crust, complimented by a light and fresh green bean and grape tomato salad.

As far as fishes go, I am extremely partial to salmon. I think because the flavor is rich and almost buttery, I go to it time and time again. It tends to be a very consistent fish. Well, this has been true for me except the time my uncle and father, fishing near my aunt and uncle’s house on Lake Michigan outside of Traverse City, gave me a few pounds of wild salmon they had just caught; that was some fishy fish! Maybe I have just been conditioned to like commercial farmed salmon? I do admit that the slightly grey color turned me off, but I did give it an honest try for health reasons. My conclusions? Perhaps those fish had a rough adolescence or something, but I don’t think I’ll be eating those again any time soon: I’ll stick with my easy-to-find, pretty pink, farm-raised salmon. And just to be even lazier, usually I buy them frozen in 4-oz portions. The result? I always have salmon in the freezer, which I can thaw at a moment’s notice for an always great meal.

I tend to marinate my salmon – saffron and whole-grain mustard, soy and ginger, honey and chipotle, dijon and olive oil, or Mediterranean-style herbs and garlic – but when I saw Ina Garten roast white fish with a creamy mustard crust on her show, I was dying to try it with salmon. Salmon is creamy on its own, but her recipe looked too decadent to pass up. So, with just a twinge of guilt, I tried a variation of the recipe and paired it with a light and healthy tomato and green bean salad. Let me tell you … the salmon couldn’t have been more perfect! With soft flesh, a mild taste, and a rich “crust”, it is definitely a keeper. Even the salad was fantastic. In the end, my guilt was gone … Here is my version of her salmon recipe:

  • 2 4-oz salmon fillets, rinsed and patted dry
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise (she used crème fraiche, but I can’t find that here; mayo is a good sub)
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tsp whole-grain mustard
  • 2 tsp minced shallots
  • 2 tsp minced capers

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the salmon on the foil and season with s&p. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients, adding a bit of freshly ground pepper. Spoon the sauce over the fish, covering it completely. Bake the salmon for 10-12 minutes (alter depending on how thick the fish is), until it is just cooked through, being careful not to overcook. The mustard crust should be lightly browned along the edges, but not dried out.

And my tomato and green bean salad:

  • 2 cups green beans, trimmed
  • 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, preferably kalamata
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • a few sprigs of thyme, coarsely chopped if you like
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Blanch the green beans for three minutes, then immediately submerge into a bowl of icy water. Remove and drain, throwing them into a bowl with the tomatoes. In a small jar, shake together the oil, lemon juice, s&p, and thyme (I use Jamie Oliver’s Flavor Shaker). Pour the dressing over the beans and tomatoes and toss to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.


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