Here's a tasty and healthy option for a quick weeknight meal. Did I hit all the right words...tasty...healthy...quick?! No word of a lie, this meal can be made in 20 minutes flat.
Sockeye salmon is a wild-caught fish favored for it's gorgeous red color and rich oil content. If you are using a different type of salmon (atlantic, coho, pink, etc.), wild-caught is always best. However if wild is unavailable, try to get those farmed in "closed tanks" which has less disease and environmental impact, according to Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch guide to sustainable seafood.
My pineapple basil sauce calls for mirin, a Japanese sweet cooking wine made from rice, similar to sake but with lower alcohol and higher sugar content. Eden Foods' mirin is free of glucose and preservatives which many other brands (even Japanese ones) contain. If you can't find mirin, you can substitute with sake plus sugar OR omit the alcohol altogether and simply add sugar with the latter resulting in a slightly less nuanced sauce.
Recipe serves 4
1.5 lbs (24 oz) of sockeye salmon fillet, cut into 4 portions (based on 6 oz servings)
For the pineapple basil sauce:
300g (about half) fresh cored pineapple, cut into rings then into 1" chunks
1 medium shallot or green onion bulb, halved lengthwise and sliced thinly
1 garlic clove, sliced thinly
2 tbsp mirin (or substitute approx 1 tbsp sake + 1 tbsp sugar, see headnotes)
1 handful of fresh basil, sliced into very thin ribbons
extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400f. Rub a bit of extra virgin olive oil onto parchment-lined baking sheet and place the 4 pieces of salmon on it, leaving space between them for even cooking. Sprinkle the tops with salt and pepper.
2. While the oven is preheating, prep your sauce ingredients: cut pineapple, shallot (or green onion bulb), garlic and basil. Put a small saucepan on the stove over medium heat.
3. By now your oven should be preheated, so place your salmon in the oven and immediately set your timer for 10 minutes. Use your oven timer or your smartphone or whatever - just set a timer! Do not overcook your salmon or else it will be dry and not delicious.
4. Into the small saucepan, add a tablespoon of olive oil and first add the shallots then the garlic to saute, stirring it around. Turn down heat a bit if needed to avoid burning. Saute for a few minutes until shallots are soft. Take it off heat.
5. Into a small blender, add pineapple, the sauteed shallots and garlic, mirin (or sake + sugar) and whiz until smooth. Taste and season with salt as needed. Drop in the fresh basil ribbons and pulse a few times until the basil is broken but you can still see small pieces.
6. Check on your salmon for doneness. I find 10-11 minutes works perfectly but a thicker piece of salmon (particularly if you are using a thicker, farmed salmon) could need another 3-5 minutes.
7. Spoon pineapple basil sauce over each salmon portion and serve with some simple veggies.