Experienced cooks know that skin-on salmon fillets come with a bonus: added texture, by way of pan-crisped skin. In this recipe, you'll season that skin only with salt and do most of the cooking skin side down. That way, the seasoning blend on the fish won't burn, the flesh will cook evenly, and that delicious crisped side will be part of each bite.
Celery seed is typically called into play for coleslaws and potato salad; here, it adds a bit of a bitter punch of flavor.
The accompanying salad takes advantage of a vegetable we are seeing more and more on the frozen aisle: charred or roasted corn. It's a timesaver and adds color as well as more corny flavor. I serve this salad with grilled fish and chicken all summer long. Feel free to add diced red pepper (fresh or roasted) or minced jalapeño.
Seared Salmon With Corn-Black Bean Salad
Four 5- or 6-ounce skin-on, frozen salmon fillets (not center-cut) 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus a small pinch 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/2 teaspoon celery seed 1 medium shallot 3 to 5 scallions One 15-ounce can black beans, preferably no-salt-added 2 cups frozen roasted corn kernels Water 3 to 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
Pat dry the salmon fillets with paper towels; you can use them straight from the freezer. Rub the toasted sesame oil over both sides of each salmon fillet. Use the pinch of salt to season the skin side of the fillets. Combine the teaspoon of salt, the pepper and celery seed in a small bowl or on a piece of wax paper; use the mixture to season the tops (flesh) of each fillet.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fillets, skin sides up; cook for 1 minute or just until lightly browned. Then turn them over and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the salmon looks almost cooked through; you can check using the tip of a sharp knife or just by looking at the sides of each fillet, where you should see a slightly darker center. Remove from the heat.
Peel the shallot, then cut into small dice. Trim the scallions and cut the white and green parts crosswise into thin slices (to taste). Empty the black beans into a colander; rinse and drain.
Place the frozen corn in a large, microwave-safe bowl and add a splash or two of water; microwave on high in 10-second increments until just warmed through.
Add the black beans, shallot, scallions, 3 tablespoons of the balsamic vinegar and the cumin, if using, to the corn, tossing to coat. Taste, and add the remaining vinegar, as needed.
Place a salmon fillet on each plate, along with equal portions of the corn-black bean salad. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Nutrition information per serving: Calories: 410; Total Fat: 14 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Cholesterol: 80 mg; Sodium: 400 mg; Total Carbohydrates: 34 g; Dietary Fiber: 8 g; Sugars: 5 g; Protein: 37 g.
Source: Based on a recipe in "The All-New Fresh Food Fast: 200+ Incredibly Flavorful 5-Ingredient 15-Minutes Recipes," by the editors of Cooking Light