Hello friends ~ I hope everyone’s hanging in there! I did a poll on IG about what content you’d like to see during this time, and got quite a few votes for more cooking posts. If you haven’t already, check out the Extra (Ap)Petite archives (this white chicken chili is a reader favorite and uses mostly pantry ingredients) and I have a couple more to share that are both delicious and easy – and kid friendly! For babies / younger toddlers, scroll to the bottom to see how I season the fish differently.
Today’s post is inspired by a dish my good friend made for us once, and I couldn’t believe how quickly she whipped everything together. The fish stays very tender through baking and is sweet, savory, and garlicky – yum! I asked for the recipe between mouthfulls and it’s been in our regular rotation since! I just make a few modifications to reduce the sweetness, and added some acidity with vinegar. I prefer to use fresh salmon, but if you’re buying groceries now for later, you can freeze uncooked salmon and just put it in the refrigerator 1 day prior to slowly thaw.
- 1lb salmon filet
- 2 Tablespoons light soy sauce. We get ours from the Asian grocery.
- 2 Tablespoons real maple syrup. Try honey or brown sugar if you don’t have maple syrup.
- 2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced, depending on how much you like garlic
- Black pepper
- Optional: 2 teaspoons rice vinegar in the marinade for a little acidity (or apple cider vinegar)
- Optional: garlic powder, grated ginger, red pepper flakes, sesame oil (I drizzle this on top of the fish on my serving plate)
To think of this simply, it’s just a 1 to 1 soy to maple syrup ratio, plus a generous helping of garlic and a dash of vinegar.
I also like to roast some veggies as sides while the oven is going! With firmer or root veggies like potatoes, carrots or squash, I’ll turn the oven temp up higher and put them in first while the salmon is marinading. Otherwise for veggies like zucchini or asparagus, the baking time is about the same.
1. Mix marinade. In a small bowl, combine the minced garlic, light soy sauce, maple syrup, and optional rice vinegar and grated ginger.
2. Put the fish in an oven-safe dish / pan and add a good amount of pepper (and optional garlic powder) all over the filet. If your fish has skin, just leave it on and bake it skin side down (the skin will come off easily after cooking). Line your dish with foil or parchment paper to make this an easy-cleanup meal.
3. Pour marinade mixture over the salmon. Cover and refrigerate for up to 30 minutes (fish is delicate so I wouldn’t marinade for longer). Start cooking your rice while salmon is marinading.
4. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes for small, thinner pieces of salmon or 20-25 minutes for thicker, larger pieces. Before baking I try to spoon as much of the marinade and garlic back on top of the salmon filet. Check your salmon and it’s done when the center of the filet flakes easily with a fork. For our approximately 1lb piece that was thicker than 1 inch, it needed about 20 minutes.
5. Serve with roasted veggies and rice or noodles! I love this with rice to soak up any extra sauce.
I roasted my asparagus in a separate dish (then combined them for serving) since I wasn’t sure how long they’d take to cook, but it was approximately the same amount of time as my salmon.
modifications for little ones
My friend’s 2 year old gobbles this salmon up alongside his parents, but if you want to cut back on sodium and sweetness for babies / younger kids, I usually just set aside a small salmon piece for Nori and season it lightly. She hasn’t taken a liking to these flavors on her salmon yet, so I’ll drizzle her filet with olive oil then simply add a little salt (omit for infants), pepper, garlic powder, and a squeeze of lemon juice when serving.
Tender Tip: When baking fish or veggies for babies or younger toddlers, I like to wrap them in a parchment paper or foil packet sealed with your fingertips. Making a sealed packet helps the inner contents “steam” within the packet and be extra tender, versus drying out in the oven.
Nori’s dinner (she’s 19 months old): salmon, potato cubes, sweet potato, some of our asparagus with the soy garlic sauce, and kiwi for dessert on her Beaba suction dining set.
I cut russet potatoes into cubes (toss in olive oil, salt, pepper, dried herbs, garlic powder) and I simply bake the sweet potato whole with the skin on wrapped in foil. Bake both together at a higher temp like 400 degrees – potato cubes took about 30 minutes while the whole sweet potato took about 40 minutes to be fork-tender. The skin on the foil wrapped sweet potato peels off easily afterwards!
I’ll be posting in the near future about a tasty way to reinvent leftovers like this (I usually can’t stand eating leftover fish!) – in the meantime, keep an eye out for large sheets of roasted seaweed (any brand) the next time you’re able to go out for groceries or place an Amazon order!
Let me know what recipes you guys have been cooking lately! (I could use the meal planning inspo!)