Weeknight Dinner Saver: Salmon Tikka over oven-roasted Honey Gold baby potatoes, purple cauliflower, and green peas
If you’re a regular follower of Big Apple Curry, you’re familiar with recipes I call “weeknight dinner savers.” These are quick and easy homemade Indian dinner ideas for busy weeknights when you need to get dinner on the table fast. We spend as much time outside as possible in the summer with our 2-year old Liam, so cooking dinner fast is always my goal. I knew I had two beautiful wild caught Alaskan salmon filets in my fridge so I jumped online to get some ideas and found a Jamie Oliver recipe for Salmon Tikka…what a great idea! If you aren’t familiar with “tikka” it’s an Indian appetizer from India’s northern state of Punjab. Tikka is a piece of boneless meat, vegetable, or cheese (paneer) that is marinated in spices and yogurt and then baked or grilled. Chicken tikka for instance, is the base of the popular British dish Chicken Tikka Masala. You can eat tikka right off a skewer or tuck tender morsels into a hot piece of naan bread drizzled with yogurt raita. Unfortunately, as much as I liked Jamie’s recipe, I had neither a store-bought tandoori paste nor naan bread, so I had to improvise with what I had…
…I decided to make salmon tikka over oven-roasted vegetables. I created my own tikka paste for the salmon thanks to a few key spices in my pantry, which I can use for a variety of dishes — I call it my 5-10-5 Rule for Indian Cooking. Using spices like ground cumin, paprika, garam masala, lemon juice, and honey, I knew my paste would give the salmon an aromatic flavor that was smoky and sweet, with a bit of kick from the cayenne powder. I whisked the paste together in a small bowl and set it aside. The trick is to treat the salmon the right way — #1 cut the salmon properly using a very sharp knife; #2 spices shouldn’t overpower salmon, which is delicate and rich; and, #3 salmon should never be overcooked. Tender salmon filets can go from luscious to dry in a matter of seconds, so cook it only as long as you need to. In this preparation, as soon as your oven-roasted vegetables are done, you need only 3 minutes to cook the salmon off in a wide non-stick skillet (1.5 minutes each side).
Weeknight Dinner Saver: Salmon Tikka over oven-roasted honey gold baby potatoes, purple cauliflower, and green peas
For the oven-roasted vegetables
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 16 oz honey gold baby potatoes
- 1 small head purple cauliflower, chopped
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
For the salmon tikka
- Two salmon fillets, cut lengthwise into three thin pieces (skin included)
- 1-2 tablespoons canola oil
For the salmon tikka paste
- 1/2 tablespoon garam masala powder
- 1/2 tablespoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 cup canola oil
- 3 teaspoons honey
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 475 F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and add potatoes. Season with salt, pepper, and curry powder, and drizzle with canola oil. Pop it into the oven and chop the cauliflower into small florets. After the potatoes have been cooking for 10-15 minutes, add the cauliflower, sprinkle a bit more salt, pepper, and curry powder and drizzle a bit more oil (just eyeball it). Close the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
- Prepare the salmon but taking a very sharp knife and cutting each salmon filet in half. Then proceed by slicing each filet lengthwise in 1/2 inch strips — you should get three strips per filet (see photo below). Cover tightly with plastic wrap and put the salmon in the fridge.
- Prepare your tikka paste by combining all the ground spices, honey, oil, and lemon juice together in a small bowl and whisk until well combined.
- By now your potatoes and cauliflower should be roasting up nicely. Pour frozen peas over them and set the timer for 5 minutes.
- Heat a large, wide non-stick skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Take your salmon filet pieces out of the fridge. Using a pastry brush, coat one side of each piece of salmon gently and place face down in skillet. Set timer for 1.5 minutes. Immediately turn each piece, quickly brush the other side with the marinade right in the skillet, and set timer for another 1.5 minutes.
- Plate each dish beginning with a generous helping of roasted vegetables, and top with 3 slices of salmon.