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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.

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By Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne

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
Lemon wedges


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!

And as Thanksgiving Approaches . . .

Here are some of my favorite time-tested recipes for Thanksgiving, from my blog, Judy’s Chickens.

About The Author

The author of one of the most delicious food and garden blogs, Judy Wright has boundless curiosity about just about anything having to do with nurturing food, family, friends—and the chickens in her backyard. Follow her adventures at Judy’s Chickens.


  • Annnnnddddddd, that’s what’s for dinner tonight, folks! For once, I have everything in my fridge and pantry. Now, if only I didn’t have to go to work and could sit and knit all day. Sigh.

  • I love this!!! I just cooked some salmon this morning to bring for my work lunch in my salad. I will definitely make this!!! Three of my favorite things!!

  • I love sheet pan dinners! So easy and little clean up.Can’t wait to try this. Even better was looking at Judy’s recipes for Thanksgiving favorites. I can’t wait to try the hot spinach dip and the cranberry pie/cake for a holiday open house.

    • That dessert is my favorite. I love the simplicity of the pumpkin pie, too. May I suggest the cranberry chutney with its apples, celery, pecans, orange rind and ground ginger? That is my must-make of the holiday season. Thanks for writng, Ellen!

  • Wonderful! You actually made me want to cook!!!

    • Wow! Now, that’s a complement! Thanks!

  • Thank you so much for sharing this recipe ❤️

  • Judy here’s another quick Salmon recipe that is good for 2 or 200 1 Salmon Filet, Minced Garlic, Minced fresh ginger, Soy, Lemon and olive oil.. Lay your almon out on a piece of foil and t hen line the middle of the fillet with lemon slices, top with a mixture fo fresh grated ginger and minced garlic, sprinkle with soya and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or throw it on a medium hot BBQ for about the same amount of time.

    • Thank you, Barbara! That sounds delicious. I’m not sure I have had ginger on salmon before. Can’t wait to give it a try.

  • Now I’m hungry for dinner–and its only 9:40 am !

  • This potato info is so helpful! Thanks! This combo is a go-to for me, but I stick the salmon in a little earlier, cook it for the same amount of time recommended here, pull it out to rest, but put the potatoes and asparagus back in so they keep cooking and stay hot while the salmon does its resting. Everything is hot and ready at the same time. (Maybe my kitchen is cold, but if I pulled it all out at the same time, the uncovered veg would not stay hot while the salmon rested.) And I tend to paint my salmon with a little mix of dijon, maple syrup, and a splash of bourbon before baking. Delicious every single time.

  • Great instructions and a beautiful end result…

    • Thank you! We eat with our eyes, right?

  • I do love a sheet pan supper. I recently bought two quarter sheets that fit in my toaster oven. I must try the foil finish for the salmon.

    • The quarter sheets are life-changing….

  • I don’t eat fish, but my family loved the salmon and I enjoyed the veggies. So easy!!

    • Pennie, you made it already?!!

  • Thanks Judy – made it for dinner last night. Delicious!

    • Great to hear! Thank you!

  • Thanks for the receipt, as the Downton Abbey crowd would say (recipe). I’ve got a tuna steak in house, too…..might swap out the salmon. Time saved = more knitting/crocheting time, eh? ((@@:,./’;,./’; (My Doctor Who scarf is about 85% knitted and waiting for the fringe and weaving in of ends. )

    Note: Our cookie sheets, pizza, brownie pans…..even other baking pans…..get all browned up in time…..burning the cookies and other foods…..I dated a Sears repair man long ago who carried a new cookie sheet in his van. When called in to repair a (usually new) Sears oven with a symptom of …..burning cookies, he would have the owner make cookie dough ahead then they’d bake them on his new pan….wallah… burned cookies…..Yes sir! He made a lot of friends that way, too. LOL!!
    Big Note: I have since learned to put these yucky pans in the oven, too when I do ””self clean””. The brown goop is cooked right off them as well as the oven goop. Seriously, I do this. Does anyone else do the above?

    • Good tip!

  • Is that McCormick’s California STYLE Garlic Pepper? I can’t find a California BLEND anywhere.

    • Eugenia, Yes, it is California STYLE. Thanks for catching that. They sell the small bottles in grocery stores. I order the large containers online. Thanks!

  • Judy, this looks fabulous. Three of my favorite things, all at once. Thank you!

    • Michele, I hope it gives you more time to knit! You are so prolific!

  • you don’t mention what you actually do with the lemons listed in the ingredients, or else I missed it.

    • I squeeze the lemon juice on the fish. Sometimes I do it before I cook the fish, sometimes I put the lemon wedges on the serving platter. Thanks for asking.

  • I agree with Stephanie. How do yo keep everything hot while Salmon is resting? We love your chicken sheet pan recipe!

  • To up the flavor of salmon, I grate dried shiitake mushrooms on top. I’ll make this tonight, thank you.

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