Grainy Mustard-Balsamic Salmon, Sesame Asparagus and Snap Peas, and Orange Mashed Sweet Potatoes


I defy anyone out there to come up with faster food than this. (Cereal doesn’t count.)

OK, I got a head start on the sweet potato, so that can be an exception if it evens things out a little. W and I make banana bread a lot – a recipe that allows W to mash the banana, sugar, oil and eggs in a bowl with a potato masher, then add the dry ingredients, stir them in, scrape it into a pan and bake. The other day it seemed like a waste to have the oven on with only a loaf pan inside, so I threw a sweet potato and head of garlic, wrapped in foil, in for the hour it took to bake the banana bread. (Both will keep just fine in the fridge for up to a week.) Roasted sweet potatoes are best for mashing – they have more flavour and retain all their nutrients (none lost to the cooking water), and they practically peel themselves as they come out of the oven. Seriously – you just pull the skin off with your fingers. So I mashed it with a teeny pat of butter and splash of orange juice, and that was done.

As for the rest – I had some glaze leftover from the Easter ham: equal parts balsamic, brown sugar and grainy mustard – so I picked up a salmon filet to make use of it. Threw it on a foil-lined sheet (only to avoid sticky clean-up after) and poured the marinade overtop while heating the oven to 400F. (Anything will do – basil or sun-dried tomato pesto, teriyaki sauce, even barbecue sauce.) Snapped the ends off the asparagus and stirred 1 tablespoon sugar (white or brown) into 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Put the salmon in. Drizzled some sesame oil in a hot pan and cranked it on to medium-high. Set the table. (Yes, I have an electric oven. Pity me. And “setting the table” involves W getting 3 forks from the drawer and me pouring 3 waters.) Threw the asparagus in the pan and tossed them around for a minute or two; added the pea pods for another minute or so, turned off the heat and poured over the sugary soy sauce. Sprinkled with sesame seeds. Pulled the salmon out. (Salmon takes 10 minutes per inch of thickness. So usually around 10 minutes.)

Total time lapsed: 8 MINUTES. (I know this because the timer was on. It didn’t just seem fast.)

And battered frozen fish fillets take 25? Where’s the convenience?

One Year Ago: Crabcakes Benedict (with Classic Hollandaise and a lightened version!)



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12 comments on “Grainy Mustard-Balsamic Salmon, Sesame Asparagus and Snap Peas, and Orange Mashed Sweet Potatoes

  1. Avery
    April 16, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Weird… Mike made mashed carrot/sweet potato to go with dinner tonight (steak & baby spinach). I think I could eat a sweet potato everyday and not get tired of it (I would, however, turn orange)…

  2. robyn
    April 16, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    I love a dinner that’s full of colour….your plate looks so pretty!!

  3. Katha
    April 16, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    So the salmon was raw and just marinated?
    Just asking because getting such fresh, goo-quality fish for me would prove very time-consuming, which is a pity.

  4. Barb
    April 17, 2009 at 5:51 am

    Looks yummy. I love the way you think on the spot and come up with these things. I need to plan ahead and still am idealess on some days.

  5. Fiona
    April 17, 2009 at 6:08 am

    Seriously, Julie. Now I have NO excuses.

  6. Janjet
    April 17, 2009 at 6:42 am

    Now I know what to do with the salmon that’s thawing in the fridge. Julie thank you for freely sharing your recipes – love it!

  7. JulieVR
    April 17, 2009 at 7:15 am

    Katha – yes the fish was raw and marinated briefly, then cooked (about 10 minutes per inch).

  8. robyn
    April 17, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Hey Katha I don’t understand your question….is it hard to get fresh fish where you are? I think I’m spoiled by Vancouver!

  9. lovetocook
    April 17, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Re yams/sweet potatoes: Cook these any night by popping one into the microwave about 5 – 10 minutes depending on the size. Chose an even shaped yam to cook evenly or trim the narrow tip off. Peel slips off easily, or scoop out and mash with butter, s and p. (Wear rubbergloves or mitt!) No sugar required. A friend cuts them into chunks and adds a bit of water in a covered microwave dish, then mashes them.

  10. lovetocook
    April 17, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    Our favorite salmon filet is smothered in grainy or Dijon mustard, garlic, maple syrup and a dusting of brown sugar and pepper. Baked on parchment lined pan (for the mess) in a hot oven or barbecue. Try to save some leftovers; it’s yummy cold and a great addition to a fresh green salad.

  11. Kate
    April 17, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    We had salmon last night too. We sear it and serve it with a balsamic citrus reduction. You are right about the time… 3 mins. a side. I never thought of baking the sweet potatoes ahead and refrigerating them. What a great way to have a head start on the next nights meal. Ingenious!

  12. Sabrina
    July 3, 2010 at 12:30 am

    My husband came home from a day of fishing with 3 coho and I made the salmon/asparagus and roasted sweet potatoes. It was all delicious. Thanks for the great recipes – I love love your blog!

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