I had such lofty plans for August. No, really, I did. I was going to take it easy. Luxuriate, if you will, for the first time in I can’t even remember how long. Take a month to just have a little kinder schedule. Run. Do yoga. Cook more. Write – for me (now that’s a novel concept!) Wade through Union Square Greenmarket. Take a vacation. I boasted about it even; I was so proud that I figure out a summer month this year, to scale it back a notch. And then, a project fell into my lap.
And I couldn’t say no. I flew to Ohio last week for less than 24 hours. In a flash I was back in New York; the previous 24 hours feeling more like 48. The project – a book. The timeline – three months. Just three short months to get a bunch of writing done.
There goes August.
And yet – I’m feeling myself reaching a certain breaking point. I no longer “want” a vacation; I need one in order not to fall apart.
The question is when?
What I’ve heard a lot of – and what hasn’t helped – and frankly made me feel more anxious and inundated is “Work will always be there.” No kidding. It’s akin to saying to a single person, “You’ll meet him/her when you least expect it.” Which is when, exactly?
But while I can wax dramatic about just how frenetic life has become – ice cream book due soon! edits from another book incoming any day! new book to write in three months! – I’m here to tell you about my friend Brita’s salmon. Really good roasted salmon, in fact. I’m not one to write a lot about fish; I tend to be so picky about it and I most often prefer it raw, but every once in awhile, I eat something and my eyes travel to the back of my head in ecstasy.
If I have to be completely honest it’s Ina Garten’s recipe, but to me, it will forever be Brita’s amazing salmon. She is the one who introduced me to it and on a little recipe card where I scribbled the recipe, it’s got Brita’s name on it. She served it once at our monthly book club meet, something like a month after the had the baby. Baby! Cooking! I was floored! I had one piece and then I did something I never do with cooked salmon – I went to get seconds! And then I couldn’t stop talking about it.
The whole thing is so simple and easy – the kind of summer cooking I really welcome this time of year. Of course, I say this after roasting a chicken last night, which at the time seemed like sound idea. Turns out being in our apartment while the oven is blasting at 450 degrees for over an hour is a few notches below painful. Roasted chicken, I’ll see you in October, okay?
But back to salmon. So. Dead. Simple. Are you ready?
Make a slurry of lemon juice, wine, and olive oil and pour it over salmon. Let it stand and do its thing while you mince some herbs and pour yourself a glass of chilled white wine (that last part is important). Pat the herbs all over the filet creating a beautiful, green coat. Then it’s off to the oven and about ten glorious minutes later (or a few more, give or take), the salmon emerges, glorious and fragrant. Serve it with a nice salad and pat yourself on the back: You got dinner on the table in half an hour and didn’t even break a sweat. That, alone, deserves another glass of wine, don’t you think?
Brita’s Roasted Salmon With Green Herbs
Adapted from Brita who adapted it from Ina Garten
I pretty much cook this as per recipe, but I let the salmon marinate in a mixture of olive oil, wine, and lemon juice instead of pouring the wine right before cooking. I’m also particular about pepper – I dislike black pepper with most seafood and usually, per Eric Ripert’s advice, stick to white. If you’re a dill-hater, skip the dill, and bump up the other herbs to make up the volume, and it’s still absolutely delicious.
1 (2- to 2 1/2-pound) skinless salmon fillet (or if you’re me – with skin on, just cook it skin-side down and scrape the meat off before serving)
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
1/2 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
1/2 cup minced fresh dill
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
Lemon wedges, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F; position the rack in the middle. Place the salmon fillet in a glass, ceramic, or stainless-steel roasting dish and season it generously with salt and pepper. Whisk together the olive oil, wine, and lemon juice, and drizzle the mixture evenly over the salmon. Let it stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.[If your filet has skin on it, place the salmon skin side down before pouring the marinade over.]
2. In a small bowl, stir together the scallions, dill, and parsley. Scatter the herb mixture over the salmon fillet, turning it so that both sides are generously coated with the green herbs. If your salmon filet isn’t skinless, just pat the herb over the non-skin side.
3. Roast the salmon for 10 to 12 minutes, until almost cooked in the center at the thickest part. The center will be firm with just a line of uncooked salmon in the very center. (Insert the tip of a small knife to check.) Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Cut the salmon crosswise into serving pieces and serve hot with lemon wedges. For skin-on filets, use a fish spatula to lift each piece off the skin (the skin will stay on the baking tray).
Serves 4 to 6.