This year has been a lot to deal with, and we’re not trying to make the holidays any more stressful than they need to be. That means we’re relying on simple but oh-so-satisfying recipes to get us through, from Ina Garten’s one cookie dough five ways to peppermint bark that’s so cute, we’re giving it away as gifts. But finding a showstopping holiday entree that won’t wear us out has been a little more challenging, which is why we perked up when Giada De Laurentiis shared her deceptively easy-slow roasted salmon recipe! It looks very impressive when served on a fancy platter, but it comes together in just over an hour, making it ideal for a year when we’re trying to make sure the holidays are as relaxing and enjoyable as possible.
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Now, don’t get scared at the phrase “slow-roasted.” While slow roasting something like a big beef roast could take all day, slow roasting salmon, which can be cooked up in minutes, simply means that it’s baked in the oven for about an hour. The relatively low heat and longer cooking time mean the fats in the salmon have time to render without drying out the meat, leaving you with a succulent, tender piece of fish.
Another way that De Laurentiis elevates this dish is by toasting whole spices and crushing them, instead of using pre-ground spices. She uses coriander and fennel seeds to infuse the salmon with flavor. However, if you don’t have whole cumin or fennel seeds, you can use the pre-ground kind – but toast them in a dry skillet before using them anyway, which will help activate their flavorful essential oils.
The salmon is placed on top of sliced fennel, coated in whole-grain mustard, then crusted with the fennel, coriander, and salt, before heading to the oven.
To serve, you simply transfer the salmon to a serving platter (the color contrast between the salmon and this blue Le Creuset serving platter would be especially striking), sprinkle it with fennel fronds, and drizzle it with some good olive oil to add extra richness.
What to serve with such a dish? The oven will be occupied, so we recommend something that can be quickly made on the stove top, like Ina Garten’s Green Beans Gemolata, or De Laurentiis’ crispy orzo antipasti salad for some fresh, cool crunch to go along with your rich salmon.
It’s a meal that’s definitely worthy of your holiday table, but it won’t take you all day to make. You’ll get the best of both worlds – a delicious, celebratory entree, and time to relax and enjoy it.
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