The rest of this 30 Minute Mondays meal is pretty much no-cook. The basil chile oil needs to simmer on the stovetop for two minutes max, and then just sits and infuses while you prepare the salmon. The pickled vegetables are a lazy girl’s version and don’t require cooking (or stirring) at all. I just found the freshest and most beautiful squash and carrots, sliced them thinly, and threw them in a shallow dish. (Alas, I was going to include those gorgeous chioggia beets pictured above, but they needed peeling and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Easy is the name of the game here, right? However, if you’re slightly more industrious than me, pickled raw beets are delicious and would go wonderfully with the rest of this dish. And, although I sliced my veggies by hand, a mandoline could definitely come in handy here.)
Caramelized Salmon with Basil Chile Oil and Pickled Vegetables
Yield: 3-4 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
For the pickled vegetables:
2-3 zucchini or other summer squash, thinly sliced
3 medium carrots, thinly sliced on the bias
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon granulated maple sugar or coconut sugar
1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
For the basil chile oil:
For the caramelized salmon (adapted from Pinch of Yum):
To make the pickled vegetables, layer the squash, carrots, and shallot in a shallow dish. Sprinkle the salt, pepper, and sugar on top. Add the rice wine vinegar, then pour in enough warm water to just cover the vegetables. Set aside while you make the basil chile oil and salmon. (If you prefer to make the pickled vegetables ahead of time, cover them and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.)
To make the basil chile oil, combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse briefly. Pour the basil chile oil into a small saucepan set over low heat and simmer for 1 minute. Set aside to cool, and then pour through a fine-mesh strainer if desired.
To make the salmon, preheat the broiler, then place a well-seasoned cast iron skillet under the broiler to heat up. Season the meaty side of the salmon with salt and pepper.
When the pan is nice and hot, carefully remove it and add the salmon, skin side down. Broil for 3 minutes. Remove the pan, sprinkle the sugar onto the salmon, and then broil for 3-7 more minutes, or until just cooked through.
Drain the pickled vegetables. Serve the salmon hot with the vegetables and basil chile oil.