Sometimes the simplest meals are the ones I love the most. Though it's fun to play around with all sorts of food combos, there really is nothing like an easy, no-frills meal that takes almost no time to make. If it's healthy, that's even better. Luckily, that was my dinner situation last night. I had these gorgeous salmon filets that kept flirting with me every time I opened the freezer and thought they’d go nicely with some French cut green beans. Some crispy, pan-fried shallots seemed like a nice finishing touch, perhaps with the tiniest drizzle of lemon butter. I thought about dinner all day at work and was happy to get right to cooking once I got home & fed the kids (er, cats).
There’s a lot of room to play with since the ingredients are so simple and complementary. I had some sockeye salmon filets that were just a gorgeous pinkish red and they turned out amazing (an absolute steal at just $6.97), but most varieties of fresh or frozen salmon are perfect for this. I grilled my salmon but I imagine broiling would be just as delicious. You can also use regular green beans as opposed to the French cut, just be sure they’re fresh as canned beans would not be the same in terms of flavor and nutrition. Or price! A can of green beans at a regular grocery store can run about $1.45 or so, and most of those 14-15 oz. come from the water in which the beans are packed. Fresh green beans cost about $2-3/lb, and because they’re so light you can easily grab several handfuls before you even reach the pound mark. Even a half-pound of the fresh beans will yield more than a can of the other stuff and taste much better. Topping everything off with some shallots that are browned just beyond caramelization to become crispy (but not burned) adds a nice crunch and enhances the flavor. If you don’t have access to shallots, using half a red onion will also work just fine.
Enjoy the simplicity of this meal with a nice glass of Chardonnay as I did, and relish in the delight of a meal that is tasty, low-cal & packed with nutrition, and that costs less than $4/serving. Talk about eating well!
Lemon Pepper Salmon with French Green Beans & Pan-fried Shallots (serves 2-3; total cost per serving: ~ $3.45)
2-3 salmon filets (about 1 lb)
1 ½ c French cut green beans
1 medium shallot
1 clove of garlic, minced
Couple glugs of olive oil
Lemon pepper and salt to taste
Lemon Butter (optional)
2 T butter
½ t crushed garlic
1 T lemon juice
Pinch of salt
Cut the shallot into thin pieces about ¼” in length. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet, add the shallots, and cook over medium heat until they turn a crispy dark brown, stirring occasionally and making sure they don’t burn. This takes about 7-8 minutes.
In the meantime, rinse green beans and snip off the ends if desired. Prepare the salmon for grilling by sprinkling a couple pinches of salt and lemon pepper on each side of the filets. Heat the grill and cook the salmon for about 4 minutes on each side or until cooked all the way through. While the salmon is grilling, steam the green beans until tender (if you don’t have a steamer, blanche the beans in boiling salted water for about 45 seconds, then plunge into cold water to avoid overcooking). If making the lemon butter, melt the butter in a small pan, add garlic, lemon juice, and salt, and mix together well.
When all the ingredients are cooked, assemble on a plate with the green beans topping the salmon. Top with a sprinkle or two of the pan-fried shallots, drizzle with a bit of the lemon butter if desired, and enjoy!