Laura Leigh Bean
Illustration, Visual Branding + Design
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The Pioneer Woman's Salmon, or The Easiest Dinner In The World

Say that thinking of The Most Interesting Man in the World.

Tonight, there were important things to get to than dinner. Building a coffee table and last week's DVR'd Scandal in particular. The fact that both of those things are happening right now, today, and not 4 months ago/one week ago respectively is bananas. The coffee table is one of the FIRST things we wanted for our new place and I've waited anxiously for months for Scandal to come back, so yeah. How do these things get away from me? WHERE ARE MY PRIORITIES?

I digress. Salmon! Oh my gosh, this is so good and so easy it's not even fair. I'm a sucker for a good love story and good food, so it was love at first read for me and the Pioneer Woman's blog. And now that she's regularly on the Food Network, I fully (irrationally? maybe?) think of her as my friend. She's so nice! She'd like me, I know it.

So, when I walked past these beautiful, huge pieces of salmon tonight at the grocery store, my mind went straight to my BFF Ree.

Her recipe for salmon (which is actually a recipe from a friend of hers) is so simple. Rub salmon filets with olive oil, salt and pepper. Put the filets on a baking sheet, put it in a cold oven and turn the oven on to 400. After 25 minutes, take out your salmon and you will guaranteed have perfectly flaky, perfectly cooked salmon on your hands.

A few tips:

  • Wrap your baking sheet in tin foil for minimal dish washing. I do this whenever possible, I am that lazy. With salmon, I consider this step non-optional.
  • This is a great base recipe for any sort of salmon you want. In my world, pretty much nothing is getting in my oven without at least two spices on it and salt and pepper do not count. Neither does garlic. I added a lot of lemon pepper and dill to the salt and pepper and it. was. awesome. I've also used this method for miso salmon and a mustard glazed salmon, both good too!
  • My salmon filets were quite possibly the biggest I'd ever seen, and were particularly thick. If that photo is not doing a good job of proving it, note that that is a DINNER PLATE, not a small plate. So, I knew they'd need a little longer to cook than 25 minutes and let them go just one extra minute, then took the pan out and tented it with foil, allowing very little air to escape. This helped the salmon keep cooking gently while the broccoli roasted.
  • Speaking of broccoli roasting, it's pretty much my favorite thing ever. Pop another sheet pan (use that foil again!) in the oven with chopped broccoli, drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder if you please. This should go in at the same time as the salmon, but it'll need an extra 15 minutes to get extra crispy (turn the oven up to 475 if you like it extra crispy like mine) which is coincidentally the perfect amount of time to make couscous and pour yourself a glass of wine.
The table's done! I clearly had nothing to do with this considering I just wrote nineteen paragraphs about the "easiest salmon ever." Anyway. I'd take a photo of the table but low-light photography and I are not friends yet. Someday, someday.

Olivia Pope (another good friend) awaits.

Cheers, friends!