The go to.
The food pairing that you know will be delicious.
The trick to making dinner day in, day out is to develop a few reliable food combinations. I save newer, more layered and challenging recipes for when I have time to linger in the kitchen and play.
Before I started playing with the idea of sheet pan suppers, one of my time-honored combos was roasted salmon and asparagus made with boiled new potatoes—requiring two roasting pans and a pot of potatoes on the stove. Now, with a sheet pan supper approach, I can pick up my ingredients, all on the same aisle of the store, and soon have a balanced supper on the table. Bonus points for the easy clean-up.
The Right Potato
The right potato makes all the difference. Knowing the characteristics of each will help you decide which one to use for the dish you plan to make.
Potatoes are divided into three categories: starchy, waxy, and all purpose.
Thick-skinned, starchy potatoes, like Russets, are high in starch and low in moisture. These are the potatoes to use for baked, mashed, and French fried applications. Their thirstiness makes them perfect for soaking up butter and other toppings for baked potatoes. Their starchiness makes them fall apart and fluff up for mashed potatoes—but beware: their thirstiness can leave them waterlogged in a matter of minutes when boiled too long. However, that’s what makes them perfect for potato leek soup; we love the abundance of starch that leaches into the soup.
Thin-skinned, waxy potatoes are high in moisture and low in starch. New potatoes, Red Bliss, and Fingerling are popular examples. They hold their shape well and don’t leach starch into their surroundings when cooking. They are a good choice for potato salads, scalloped potatoes, soups, stews, and potato chips because they hold their shape when thinly sliced. Waxy potatoes are more sweet and flavorful than potatoes in the high starch category.
All-purpose potatoes are somewhere in the middle with a medium amount of starch and moisture. They are thin skinned, flavorful, moist, and can be cooked without falling apart. These characteristics make them perfect for our sheet pan meals. The most venerable of this variety is the Yukon Gold with its sweet, nutty, buttery flavor. Feel free to swap out any yellow potato for a Yukon Gold. Other varieties include Kennebec, Carola, and many of the heirloom blue potatoes.
I seasoned the ingredients with my favorite trio: extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and McCormick’s California Blend Garlic Pepper. I love McCormick’s California Blend because it has a good mix of garlic, pepper, just a touch of salt, and herbs.
And We’re Off
Roasted Salmon, Asparagus, and Potatoes
Yield: Serves 4
Prep time: 10 minutes Roasting time: 40 minutes
2 pounds (5 or 6) Yukon Gold or other yellow potatoes, unpeeled
1 pound asparagus
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1½ teaspoon California Style Garlic Pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1½ pound salmon fillet
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon California Style Garlic Pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 425º.
Prep potatoes: Scrub potatoes. Do not peel. Cut into ⅓-inch thick slices for quick cooking. Add to a parchment lined sheet pan.
Prep asparagus: Wash and pat dry. Break off tough ends with your hands. They naturally break at the point where the color shifts from white to green. Cut on the diagonal into 2-inch pieces.
Add to sheet pan. Sprinkle vegetables with olive oil, salt, and garlic pepper and toss together. Spread uniformly in the pan. Place pan in oven and cook for 20-25 minutes.
Prep salmon while vegetables cook: Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic pepper and salt. Allow to marinate for 15 minutes.
Back to the vegetables: After 20-25 minutes of cooking, remove sheet pan from oven and turn vegetables over using the edge of the parchment paper to help flip them. Use a spatula to scrape them to one side of the pan.
Add salmon. Tuck the thin edges of the fillet under for even cooking. Cook for ten minutes, two minutes longer if the filet is thicker than an inch.
Remove pan from oven. Immediately cover the salmon with foil and allow to rest for 8-10 minutes. This rest period allows for what chefs call “carryover” heat to finish the cooking process. It’s what ensures beautifully moist salmon. Resist the urge to cover the entire pan with foil; covering the veggies will steam them and cause the asparagus to turn a muddy green.
Perfectly moist salmon, tender roasted vegetables. It’s one of the classic combinations. A go to!