Salmon and Broccoli in Twenty Minutes

Plus: Chocolate Chip Cookies, Seared Tuna, and Winston Wants Pizza.

Hey gang,

Before we get to this incredibly easy and tasty salmon and broccoli dinner, I want to remind you that this is the last FREE Amateur Gourmet newsletter you’ll get until the first Monday in March. That means you’re going to miss three newsletters — Feb. 8th, Feb. 15th, and Feb. 22nd — and those newsletters are going to contain details of Craig’s birthday dinner (which I’m cooking tomorrow night), my birthday dinner on the 18th (whatever will I do?!), Valentine’s Day (will I share the recipe for my favorite flourless chocolate cake? I just might), and a trip to Palm Springs (we’re staying at an AirBnB for a week) — and to think that you can experience all of that amazing content just by clicking the button below and forking up either $5 a month or $30 for a year. That’s so reasonable, it’s mind boggling. So click the button and support your favorite newsletter writer! Think of it as an early birthday present:

Now for that salmon and broccoli dinner: it’s so easy. Are you ready?

Heat your oven to 425 degrees. Toss broccoli florets from two heads of broccoli with a few smashed garlic cloves, a splash of olive oil, a good sprinkling of salt, and a tiny sprinkling of red chili flakes, toss all around, and spread out on a cookie sheet. Pop that into the oven.

Then, line another cookie sheet with aluminum foil, place two pieces of salmon on it (skin side down), drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and when the broccoli’s been cooking for 10 minutes or so, pop in the salmon.

You’ll want to flip the broccoli once it gets golden brown on one side and keep cooking it until a fork goes through a stem easily (about 20 minutes total).

Cook the salmon to your desired doneness using a thermometer (I like taking it out at 125, which is still pink in the middle). The timing will depend on how thick your salmon filets are — but all of this should be done within 20 minutes.

Drizzle everything with freshly squeezed lemon juice, and there you go. A snazzy, satisfying, weeknight dinner that’s as healthy as it is delicious.

Maybe I was feeling a bit two healthy after eating this, because the next day I made my Very Good Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I hope you do what I do when you make chocolate chip cookies: bake as many as you want in that moment, and put the rest of the shaped dough on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and pop that into the freezer. The next morning, peel off the frozen dough balls and put into a freezer bag for the next time you have a cookie craving… which, for me, will be very soon.

On this particular day that I made the cookies, I was feeling down in the dumps. How can you not in January with the pandemic raging and being stuck inside for almost a year? So I did the only thing you should do while in such a mental state: I made pasta. In a large pot, I sizzled some bacon, then added tomato paste, chili flakes, and lots of garlic.

I stirred that all together until the garlic was just starting to turn golden, then added a can of San Marzano tomatoes. Cooked it all down until I had a thick sauce, then stirred in some al dente penne, and finished with lots of Parmesan cheese. Sort of a cheaters penne all'amatriciana (traditionally it would have guanciale which, I just realized, I have in the freezer. Oops.)

Let’s circle back to fish.

Believe it or not, I’d never seared tuna before and my fishmonger (who’s also my butcher) had the most beautiful ahi tuna in the case the other day. So I bought two filets and cooked them in the simplest way possible. I heated a cast iron skillet, added a little olive oil, seasoned the tuna on both sides with salt and pepper, and seared on both sides until there was a crust and a thermometer registered 110 in the middle.

Meanwhile, I cooked down a bunch of Napa cabbage in olive oil — no salt, no anything — until it got golden brown all over, then I doctored with soy sauce, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, toasted sesame seed oil, and sesame seeds.

Here’s the finished dinner, a tasty one if I do say so myself.

What else?

Oh, I attempted sweet potato fries in the oven the other day. I used Mark Bittman’s recipe.

Though they were really tasty — I liked the garlic powder and the paprika — they weren’t exactly crispy.

Many Instagram followers chimed in, suggesting that I soak the cut sweet potatoes in water before roasting, place on a rack, and coat with a little corn starch. Oh and not to salt until after. We’ll give that a go next time around.

Finally, on Friday we ordered pizza from Hail Mary here in our neighborhood. Mine had anchovies and jalapeños, which was very exciting.

(That dipping sauce was Ranch dressing, and I’m pretty sure it was intended for Craig’s BBQ chicken pizza, which was also excellent.)

On the couch next to me, Winston watched me chew every single bite, desperate for a crumb.

We didn’t give him any because last time we gave him a little bit of pizza, it really upset his stomach. But he did get a treat later.

Last night, I did another Cooking Live on Instagram and made Seared Scallops with Citrus Risotto. Here’s what the dish looks like:

And here’s the video of me making it. You should give it a go!

A post shared by Adam Roberts (@amateurgourmet)

I’m lucky that Craig has agreed to film these cooking videos, especially since he has some bigger fish to fry (bigger than scallops, anyway). This was in The Hollywood Reporter last week… so excited for Craig and this movie!

Now for some links:

Okay, that’s all for this week, folks.

For those of you who subscribed already, I’ll see you back here next week.

For everyone else, I guess I’ll see you again in March. It’s not too late to change your mind! (I’m good at the Jewish guilting):

Until next time….

Your friend,