When we think about one-pan cooking, we usually think about a dish where all of the components cook together in one pan at the same time. But there’s another kind of one-pan cooking! (Sorry for the exclamation mark, I was excited.) It’s the kind where you cook multiple components in the same pan one after the other and then assemble everything together on the plate at the end.
That’s what I did here when I made salmon for dinner the other night. You may be thinking: “Make the components one after the other? Don’t they get cold?” And I’d say to you: “Not really, they’ll stay warm. Stop worrying so much.”
Obviously, the advantage to making a dinner like this is that you only have one pan to clean at the end. This is my Scan Pan from Sur La Table (this is not a sponsored post, I swear) which I really love because it’s non-stick but it doesn’t have dangerous chemicals in it (The Wall Street Journal gave it the Blue Ribbon for nonstick pans).
I happened to have some sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes that I picked up at McCalls Meat and Fish when I went to get salmon there the other day (you order everything online in advance) and I figured this was the best way to marry all of the ingredients into one harmonious dinner.
As you can see above, I cooked the cherry tomatoes with some garlic and olive oil and then finished with capers. The sugar snaps got the same olive oil and garlic treatment. I wiped out the pan each time, setting each component aside, and finished by searing the salmon in hot grapeseed oil (any neutral oil works well here).
I’ve learned the hard way that if it’s a thick filet, you want to finish it in the oven so it cooks all the way through. But these filets were thin, so I started them skin-side down until they got a nice crust, then finished in the pan on the other side.
It’s a summery, healthy-ish dinner that you can have on the table in twenty minutes. And there’s only one pan to clean! Not apologizing for that exclamation mark. I earned it.
One-Pan Salmon with Sugar Snap Peas and a Cherry Tomato Sauce
- Olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, sliced thin
- Red chili flakes
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved Try to use multicolored heirloom cherry tomatoes if you can find them.
- 1 – 2 tsp capers
- 1 pound sugar snap peas, strings removed This recipe would work equally well with asparagus, broccoli (though you may need to blanch it first), and string beans.
- 1 lemon
- Grapeseed oil
- 2 filets salmon, skin-on
- Freshly ground pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized nonstick skillet and add half of the garlic. When the garlic starts to color, add a pinch of red chili flakes, then all of the cherry tomatoes plus a big pinch of salt.
- Cook on medium heat until the tomatoes begin to burst and the liquid begins to thicken. Towards the end, stir in the capers and taste to adjust for salt. Spoon the tomato sauce into a bowl.
- Wipe out the pan with a paper towel and heat another splash of olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan. When very hot, add all of the sugar snap peas and a big pinch of salt. Toss all around and then let the sugar snaps sit in the hot oil until they start to color.
- Continue tossing and charring until they're all a bit shriveled, hot, and brown in spots. Taste for salt and squeeze a wedge of the lemon on top. Set aside.
- Wipe out the skillet one more time, and heat a splash of the grapeseed oil in the same skillet. Pat your salmon filets very dry with paper towels and season generously with lots of salt and pepper.
- Carefully lay the salmon, skin-side down, into the hot oil. Cook on medium-high heat until the skin is crispy and bronzed (about 2 to 3 minutes), then flip with a fish spatula. If your filets are thin, they should finish cooking in the pan. If they're very thick, you may need to finish in a 400 degree oven. Either way, cook until a thermometer inserted into the center reads 125 for medium.
- Remove the salmon to a plate and top with the cherry tomato sauce. Serve the sugarsnaps on the side with a lemon wedge.
The Miracle of Mustard-Brown-Sugar Salmon (Amateur Gourmet)
Slow-Roasted Salmon with Cucumber Yogurt and Quick-Preserved Lemons (Amateur Gourmet)
Seared Salmon with Roasted Broccoli (Amateur Gourmet)
Sheet Pan Salmon and Broccoli with Miso Butter (Simply Recipes)
Sheet-Pan Salmon and Broccoli with Sesame and Ginger (New York Times)