I’m traveling this week for work, and knew I would only have one night at home to cook a nice meal. I was in the mood for salmon, and wanted to try a new recipe using the leftover fresh thyme I had in my fridge. I browsed Epicurious and found this recipe, which I altered only slightly by adding minced garlic and removing the skins of the salmon. I served the salmon with tricolor Israeli couscous with sautéed tomatoes and shallots, basil and spinach. The whole meal was very easy to prepare, and the salmon was so melt-in-your-mouth-delicious.
Slow-Baked Salmon with Lemon and Thyme (serves 2)
- 2 filets of salmon, skin on or off based on your preference
- 2 TB olive oil
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
Israeli Couscous with Tomato and Spinach (serves 2-3)
- 1 cup Israeli couscous (tricolor, if you can find it)
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 small shallot, diced
- 8 basil leaves, julienned
- 2 cups spinach, coarsely chopped
- 2 TB shredded Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
I chose to have the salmon skinned because I wasn’t sure how the skin would crisp up when baked in this slow method, and I only like salmon skin if it’s really crispy. If you have tried this recipe with the skin on, I invite your reviews in the comments section.
Preheat oven to 275. Combine olive oil, lemon zest, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper into a small bowl. Cover a baking sheet with a layer of aluminum foil and place salmon filets on, flat side (skin side if not skinned) down. Coat each salmon filet with the oil blend and let sit for 10 minutes so flavors can meld. Bake for 22 minutes and remove from oven.
Israeli couscous can be found in most Mediterranean markets, Whole Foods or Trader Joes. It has a similar consistency to orzo, but with a pearl shape. Use 1 1/4 cup water for every 1 cup of couscous. Bring the water to a boil, add the couscous, reduce to simmer and cover until water is absorbed – about 8-10 minutes.
Start to prepare the couscous when there is about 12 minutes left to the fish. While preparing the Israeli couscous, heat 2 tsp of olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add shallots and tomatoes and sauté over medium-low heat for 7 minutes. When the couscous is mostly cooked, transfer to the pan with tomatoes and shallots and continue to sauté over a simmering flame. Add the basil and spinach and stir to combine until the spinach begins to cook. Top with salt, pepper and parmesan and stir to combine. Serve immediately alongside slow-baked salmon.
Because the flavors in the basil, thyme and lemon zest are so strong, you want to pair it with something crisp and light, which are the qualities in a California-style Pinot Gris (known as Pinot Grigio in Italy). This grape sometimes gets a bad rap because there are a lot of cheap American wines out there labeled “Pinot Grigio” – a name that is more widely recognized in airport bars and grocery stores. But if you do a little digging, and you’re willing to spend more than $10, you can easily find a nice Pinot Gris from California. The Tangent “PG” Paragon Vineyard Pinot Gris from Edna Valley is a steal at only $14. Bouchaine also makes a great Pinot Gris from their estate vineyard in Carneros, and I love the Navarro Pinot Gris from Anderson Valley. These are also great wines to sip on before dinner, or as you’re cooking!