I heart capers (and so can you)
There is a cookbook that has never failed me, never done me wrong: The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper. It is full of a variety of inventive, classic, approachable, and most importantly, flavorful and tasty recipes. The recipes in the book work consistently whether I adapt them or follow them to the letter.
Tonight’s dinner was no exception – thinly sliced potatoes topped with salmon marinated in olive oil, lemon, and loads of garlic. And topped with capers. Salty, amazing, delicious capers.
The original recipe didn’t call for it, but I busted out my mandolin in order to slice the potatoes. In fact, the original recipe called for cooking the whole potatoes first and then slicing them afterward, and… I just thought that would be messy, and that they would be sticky and not very pretty. Look at that photo above – pretty! If you don’t have a mandolin, fear not. You can use a knife to slice your potatoes as thinly and evenly as possible.
I realize that slicing potatoes thinly and evenly on a Monday night does not sound like a practical weeknight dinner. But really, it’s the most time-consuming bit of the entire preparation (and it doesn’t take that long!). There’s not even enough time to sip on a glass of wine while making this meal! The marinade comes together in a snap: whisk together olive oil and lemon juice. Toss in some finely minced (or grated on a microplane) garlic, and add salt and pepper. Pour over salmon filets and let rest in the fridge while you cut the potatoes and arrange them in an oven-proof skillet.
Here is what I didn’t do tonight, but will the next time I make this dish: bake the potatoes by themselves for a bit before adding the salmon to the pan. I thought I sliced the potatoes thinly enough to compensate for not boiling them first, but the potatoes in the middle of the pan could have just just a tiny bit longer in the oven.
One thing that drew me to this recipe, but also left me feeling a bit wary, was the fact that all of the marinade is poured on top of the salmon and potatoes before the fish is baked. I liked the idea of not wasting the flavorful marinade, but was afraid that it would pick up too much of a fishy taste while the salmon soaked in it. I was concerned that my potatoes – between having the salmon resting on top of them while baking, and having salmon infused marinade poured over them, would taste like… salmon potatoes. But I had no reason for concern, because the only flavor the potatoes picked up was a yummy garlic-lemon flavor.
A final, astounding note: my son – the lover of mac-and-cheese, sprinkles, and peanut butter and jelly; the hater of steak, mushrooms, hamburgers, eggs, and tomatoes; LOVES fish. Loves SALMON! That alone is a reason for me to make this recipe again – a dinner we can all agree on!
Caper, Lemon and Garlic Roasted Salmon and New Potatoes
Adapted from The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper
- 1 pound salmon fillets (preferably boneless and wild-caught)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Generous 1/4 cup olive oil
- 6 to 8 garlic cloves
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 pound new potatoes (also called red potatoes)
- 2 teaspoons capers, drained and rinsed
- Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Make the marinade: whisk together olive oil and lemon juice. Using a microplane, grate garlic into olive oil mixture (alternatively, you can mince the garlic very fine). Add salt and pepper to marinade, whisk again to thoroughly combine.
Place salmon fillets in a shallow dish and cover with the marinade. Place in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
Using a mandolin or a knife, slice potatoes about 1/8 inch thin. Thinly coat the bottom of a 12-inch skillet with olive oil. Place the sliced potatoes in the pan in a single, even layer. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until softened and almost cooked through.
Place salmon on top of potatoes, and top with capers. Pour marinade over potatoes and salmon. Bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish.
Optional: You can finish the dish by placing it under the broiler for 2-3 minutes. This is not necessary for cooking purposes but will give your potatoes a light crunch and your salmon a nice, garlicy crust.
Sprinkle with parsley and serve.