The great thing about quality products is that you don’t have to make a big production to have great results. The other day I had on hand some lovely Coho salmon, and found this rather simple preparation for baked salmon with bell peppers and capers, with both bell pepper and capers being items my mother loves in cooking. This is a key detail because I made this dish a few nights ago for my mother’s birthday.
The recipe actually calls for sockeye salmon. I’m not sure why there’s a particular emphasis on that kind, as I think this would work well with any fairly thick salmon fillet.
The ingredients are very simple to pull together. A few pounds of salmon fillet, olive oil, sea salt, capers, garlic (not pictured)…
And of course the bell pepper. Three would be preferable, as the peppers were quite nice. In a way, I felt a bit like Donald Rumsfeld in this aspect: you don’t go to dinner with the peppers you want, you go to dinner with the peppers you have. Actually, no, I didn’t feel like Donald Rumsfeld at all. That guy can go to hell.
You might want to preheat the oven to 375 degrees F at this point, but it can probably wait until the peppers have been dealt with.
That is you need to char them. A blow torch really would have been a better tool, as a bell pepper is a rather inconveniently shaped thing.
Once well charred all around, darkening as much skin as you can get without burning down into the flesh, allow to cool a bit and then wrap in plastic, or place in a covered bowl. The idea is to trap them with the moisture.
If you haven’t preheated the oven, now’s the time to do it.
Now, lay out your washed and paper towel dried salmon fillets in a baking dish coated liberally with olive oil.
Toss the capers and some cloves of garlic on the fillets.
Now’s a good time to deal with the bell peppers. Those uncharred nooks and crevices are a bit annoying but we’ll deal.
Rub off all of the skin from the now cooled off peppers. If you are a big cheater like me, doing this under running water helps speed up the process quite a bit. I’m sure you lose some flavor and nutrients but when you’re on the clock there’s no shame in a shortcut.
There we go, some beautiful skinned bell peppers with a nice moist “chewy” feel to the flesh.
Even roasted bell peppers can be cut up using the side slicing method I describe here, albeit with a bit more care. Then cut them up into roughly square inch-inch and half pieces and toss onto the fish.
Finally, season with finely ground black (or white) pepper and sea salt.
Put the whole assortment into the preheated oven for 16 minutes, and you’re all set! Let it sit for a few minutes before serving.
And there you have it. A simple but still very nice birthday meal for a mother. Provided she likes fish.
Baked salmon with Bell Pepper and Capers, adapted from Epicurious.
- Char bell peppers, then place in a covered bowl, or allow to cool slightly before placing them in a food safe plastic bag. Once completely cooled, remove skin and chop roughly into square pieces of about an inch or an inch and a half.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Wash and dry fish with paper towels.
- Place fish fillets, skin side down, in a baking dish coated liberally (but don’t go overboard) with olive oil.
- Toss on the capers, cloves, and bell pepper pieces, then season with fine sea salt and ground black or white pepper.
- Place baking dish into preheated oven for 16 minutes. Remove and allow to cool a few minutes before serving.