Who doesn’t love a go-to main course that you know is easy and foolproof?
One recipe that is in my arsenal is one from one of my favorite cookbooks, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof. The author, Ina Garten, is a chef that I have long admired, from watching her shows on The Food Network to looking forward to every cookbook she comes out with. If you don’t have any of her cookbooks, I highly recommend them. She uses fresh ingredients and they aren’t too complicated or overwhelming. She was inspired to make this salmon from a dish from the famed restaurant Le Bernardin in New York City.
This recipe is not only easy and delicious, but also really pretty visually when you are finished making it. The sweet tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil and the addition of balsamic vinegar give the dish an amazing flavor and twist. You can cut the recipe in half for a dinner for two, or double for a dinner party with not a lot of fuss!
Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Don’t forget to do this or else the timing will be off when you need to place the cast iron pan in the oven after cooking the salmon in the pan.
Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan, (different than the pan you will be using for the salmon) and add the chopped onions and saute for 5 minutes. The recipe calls for a sweet Vidalia onion, but of course a red or regular white onion would do if you can’t find the Vidalia or don’t have at home.
Add the garlic and saute for another minute, before adding the tomatoes, salt, and pepper.
Cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. I recommend not over-cooking at this stage, as the tomatoes will taste and look better when not overdone.
When done, take off the heat and add in the balsamic vinegar and fresh chopped basil. I always add a little more basil than the recipe calls for because I love basil!
If you have a cast iron pan, this is preferable, but of course use whatever you normally use if not. Heat the pan for at least 5 minutes over high heat. If it isn’t heated properly, the cooking times will be off, and salmon is a little pricey to make a mistake or ruin a dinner.
After brushing the salmon with olive oil, salt and pepper, place it skin side UP in the cast iron pan. Cook the salmon for about 3-4 minutes, until browned, then using a metal spatula turn skin side DOWN and place the pan right away into the heated 425 degree oven for approximately 8 minutes. This depends on the size of your pieces ( if different from the recipe) so make sure to keep an eye on it.
Remove the salmon to your serving platter, cover with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
If needed, reheat your tomatoes, but make sure not to overcook, or they won’t be bright red and they will get mushy as well. It is meant to be a warmed topping not a tomato sauce!
Serve the salmon with the tomatoes on top. How easy is that? I like to serve with a green salad and the roasted potato recipe also in Barefoot Contessa Foolproof, Crispy English Potatoes...a tried and true crowd pleaser which we will be bringing to you soon. Enjoy!
SALMON AND MELTING CHERRY TOMATOES FROM BAREFOOT CONTESSA FOOLPROOF
Quality olive oil
1 cup chopped sweet onion, such as Vidalia
2 teaspoons minced garlic ( 2 cloves)
2 cups (1 pint) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved through the stem
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 ½ tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
1 ½ tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves
1 ( 2-pound) salmon filet, cut crosswise into 4 pieces
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium saute pan.
Add the onion and saute over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring gently. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Stir in the tomatoes, salt and pepper.
Cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is mostly evaporated and slightly thickened. Turn the heat off, and stir in the balsamic vinegar and basil.
Place a large cast-iron pan over high heat for about 5 minutes. Brush the salmon all over with olive oil, salt and pepper, lay the fish skin side UP and then cook the fish for 3 to 4 minutes without moving them, until browned. Flip the salmon skin side DOWN with a metal spatula and move the pan to the oven for 8 minutes. The salmon will not be cooked all the way thru. Remove to a serving platter, cover with the aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Gently reheat the tomatoes if desired, season to taste, and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature along with the salmon.
Serve with your favorite salad and side dish...and Enjoy!
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