In case I hadn’t complained about it enough, I’m 9 months pregnant. I’m actually 39 weeks pregnant as I [angrily] type. I hate being upright, let alone being on my feet right now. Alas, I have to cook, because I have to eat.
Hence, the 25-minute meals series.
With very swollen ankles, sore feet, a back that cracks involuntarily, and an attitude that I’m desperately trying to curb, the last thing I want to do is be in a kitchen for an hour cooking anything. Not to mention, it’s summertime. This should be prime raw eating season, right? Right. (Also? The kitchen is HOT when you have to use the stove and stuff. Not interested.)
Here’s what you’re gonna need: filets of salmon – I use 6oz for each adult, and 4oz for Mini-me. I use 1 zucchini for each adult, a half for each child. A cup of mushrooms, a couple of tomatoes (or a cup of pre-diced tomatoes), a cup of black olives, a half of a green pepper, a quarter of an onion, a little bit of olive oil, a pinch of whatever salt you prefer (I use kosher), and some balsamic vinegar.
Worth remembering: this only took 25 minutes.
So, you’ll take each piece and sprinkle it with salt. Keep it simple, here.
Take your skillet, turn it on medium – literally, a 5 on a scale of 10 – and add a teaspoon of oil. Once your skillet is hot – I always wait for it to emit a little steam – lay your salmon filets in the skillet, skin-side down.
In the meantime, take your zucchini and cut them into large chunks. I always cut my zukes into chunks before I feed them through the spiralizer, so that I can avoid having giant, super-long massive strands of veggie noodles in my plate. This way, the length of the strands is a bit more manageable, more akin to pasta than to The Never Ending Zucchini Noodle.
Begin feeding your zucchini through your spiralizer. (If you’re curious about which one I use, check out this post for a thorough review of my own Spiralizer!)
Keep an eye on your salmon. The standard rule for skillet-cooking salmon is that you want it to look done around the outer perimeter of your filet, like above. When your salmon looks like this on the outer rim, that’s when it’s time to flip it.
Next, we’re going to build the salad.
Chop your ingredients – mushrooms, olives, green peppers, tomatoes, and your little bit of onion – and toss them in a bowl together. Add a tablespoon of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and perhaps a bit of dried oregano and red pepper flakes (if you’re feeling randy.) Hand-toss everything together in your bowl.
Time to start building your plate.
Grab your plate, and put a teaspoon of olive oil on it. From here, put your zucchini noodles on top of your plate, and slide them around, coating the noodles in the oil. Don’t forget to turn your noodles so that the ones on top eventually make it to the bottom, and the ones on the bottom make it to the top. Then, add some of your veggies. It should look like the above. If you’ve got a half of a lemon, squeeze it over each plate.
From here, add your salmon to the side of your plate. Here’s where the glaze comes into play.
Pour four tablespoons – one tablespoon for each person, and then an extra one for good measure – of balsamic glaze in the skillet while it’s still hot from cooking your salmon. There might even be oil from the salmon in the skillet – good. We want that. If there isn’t any, no biggie.
Turn the heat on the skillet down to a 2 out of 10, and cover the skillet partially, by tilting the skillet cover so that it’s only somewhat on. What we’re making right now is a reduction – we’re reducing the amount of water in a substance, creating a more concentrated flavor and a thicker liquid to coat our salmon filet.
It’ll thicken up quite nicely…. after it gives off a bit of a burning sensation to the inside of your nostrils. One of the annoying things about reducing vinegars, is the fact that the smell is horrendous. So horrendous, in fact, that you might feel tempted to leave the kitchen.
This is totally understandable. However.
If you leave, keep an eye on the time. With such a small amount of vinegar, it won’t take long before you start getting a thicker glaze. It’d take quite a while to burn it, because the temperature on the stove is so low, but you don’t want to risk getting balsamic paste, either. (Think “tomato paste.” Yeah. This is how that’s made. Totally possible to do with balsamic vinegar. Totally undesirable in this instance.)
You’ll know this is done by the taste – once it starts tasting more like a sweet glaze and less like the acidity of vinegar, you’re all set. Shouldn’t take more than four minutes tops.
Remember your plate? Drizzle that balsamic glaze over the top of your salmon.
And you’re all done. If your knife skills are anything like mine, you’ve likely got 2 minutes to spare. Spend a couple of minutes doing the Tootsie Roll, cleaning up some of the scraps, cleaning off your utensils… and then sit yourself down with that plate and enjoy, knowing the bulk of the cooking and cleaning was done in less than 25 minutes.
This is how bosses do it. Bon appetit!
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