When I started planning the menu for the afternoon baby shower I hosted for our latest Gatherings from The Kitchn, I knew I wanted to serve salmon. High in omega-3 fats and low in mercury, salmon is a great choice for pregnant women who are confused about which fish they can and should be eating.
But this recipe isn't just for pregnant women, of course. On a bed of crisp greens, alongside cold roasted asparagus, a piece of this mustard-brushed salmon is terribly elegant. It's also just as good cold as it is hot, making it an easy option for a picnic or a warm-weather dinner.
I served this salmon as part of a salad bar spread alongside a variety of proteins, but it would just as tasty — and a lot more practical for a weeknight meal — to serve it alone on top of a dressed salad or with a couple sides. (I'll be sharing more tips for setting up a salad bar for a party later this week.)
I like cooking salmon quickly in the broiler, so this is legitimately a 30-minute main dish. All it takes is a few minutes to whisk together the glaze, a 15-minute marinade in the fridge, and a couple minutes under the searing heat of the broiler. For the baby shower, I cooked the salmon in batches in my drawer-style oven broiler the night before the party, then refrigerated it overnight and served it cold, so it didn't require any extra work the day of the party.
I've also been enjoying it hot out of the oven for dinner. Salmon has become one of my weekly staples since I found out I was pregnant — well, after I survived morning sickness anyway — because it is one of the few fish that is readily accessible and doesn't require hours of research to figure out if it is healthy and safe for pregnant women to eat. High in DHA, the omega-3 fatty acid that is linked to fetal brain growth and development, and low in mercury and other contaminants, salmon is a no-brainer. (Ha!)
Salmon can be wild or farmed, from Alaska or Scotland, but not every option is a sustainable one. The salmon I used was wild Alaska sockeye salmon, which is rated a Best Choice by Seafood Watch. To see how the various salmon options stack up, check out this fact sheet:
→ Salmon Fact Sheet from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch
Beyond all that, if you are looking for a new fish recipe to add to your repertoire, give this one a try — eaten hot or cold, at the dinner table or on a picnic blanket, it adds an easy elegance to any meal.
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds salmon, cut into approximately 6-ounce portions
In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, brown sugar and salt. Spread the mixture over all sides of each piece of salmon. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, place a cast iron skillet or other heavy oven-safe pan a few inches below the broiler and preheat for 10 minutes.
Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and place the salmon skin-side up in the pan. (Depending on the size of your broiler and pan, you may need to cook the fish in batches.) Broil for 2 minutes. Flip and broil for another 1 to 2 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets, until the salmon is just barely translucent at its thickest point. (It will continue cooking off the heat.) Remove from the hot pan immediately.
Serve hot or refrigerate it to serve it cold the next day.
(Image credits: Leela Cyd)