There's nothing quite as satisfying as cooking a delicious meal that comes together flawlessly and easily with minimal ingredients and mess. That's why I love making fish. Some people tend to shy away from it, thinking that it's difficult to prepare--for some reason, seafood tends to give that impression. In actuality, good, fresh fish needs almost no preparation--just a few simple seasonings and a bit of time on a fired up stove or in a hot oven. The natural flavors are so good, it doesn't need a lot of fuss.
This recipe for foil-baked salmon is a prime example of this kind of cooking. I made it on a cold Monday night when I was so exhausted from a long day of meetings and standard work-day commotion, that the temptation to just order in some pad thai and call it a night was seriously calling my name. I'm glad I didn't succumb. This took almost no time to make and tasted heavenly. It's the perfect weeknight meal, whether you're cooking for just one or a crowd. Bonus: when you cut open the foil packets, the scent of the basil fills the kitchen and it looks just as good as it smells--like decoupage on the salmon. Try it and see for yourself. xo
Foil-Baked Salmon with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil
From The Essential New York Times Cookbook, by Amanda Hesser
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
One 1 ½ - to- 2-pound skinless salmon fillet, any pin bones removed, cut into 4 pieces
12 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
16 leaves basil
For each of the 4 packages, place one 12-inch-long sheet of aluminum foil on top of another. Smear top sheet with ½ tablespoon olive oil and layer a fillet of salmon, 6 tomato halves, salt and pepper to taste, 4 basil leaves, and another ½ tablespoon oil on it. Seal the package by folding the foil over itself and crimping the edges tightly. Refrigerate until ready to cook, no more than 2 hours later.
When you are ready to cook, heat the oven to 500 degrees. Place the packages in a roasting pan. Cook for 5 minutes, for medium-rare, to 8 minutes from the time the oil starts to sizzle, roughly 10 to 12 minutes total.
Let the packages rest for a minute, then cut a slit along the top of each with a knife. Use a knife and fork to open the package, and spoon the salmon, garnish, and juices onto a plate.