Apparently I’m now the mother of a two year old.
Going on thirteen.
Everyone always talks about the “threenager” period like it’s something to cower in fear of, but guys.
TWONAGERS are the new threenagers.
Voicing her opinions about what clothes she wants (or more often, doesn’t want) to wear.
Screaming “MOMMY, DON’T TOUCH MY BODY” in public (as she simultaneously demands “uppy” and clings to me like we’re attached at the hip, I might add).
Yelling “DADDY, LEAVE ME ALONE” when we try to not let her fall/trip/drop her ice cream on the floor.
And, of course, being consistently inconsistent about which foods are anathema on any given day (despite them being a clear favorite the day prior. Pasta –> I’m looking at you.)
Surprisingly we’ve had a pretty steady streak of salmon being on Remy’s “acceptable food when mommy refuses to let me eat yogurt for every meal” list, so I’ve been rolling with it. Generally that means making some kind of sheet pan salmon on a weekly basis. It’s just easy, dirties barely any dishes, and is kind of like a twofer because you end up getting a veggie side dish along with the fish. And sometimes (when it’s broccoli), your kid will even eat the vegetable instead of throwing it on the floor! Win/win.
As much as I luurrvvee a good sheet pan fish dinner for all of those reasons, I also really adore a good crispy skin to my salmon and for that, you really need to pan fry. Just a bit of oil (I only used 1 tablespoon to fry 4 fillets!) and a good nonstick skillet thoroughly warmed over high heat are really all you need. And, honestly, it actually takes less time to cook than roasting would.
The seasoning on this salmon is super simple (just salt and pepper!) to make room for the other big and bold flavors on this plate. Date-studded freekeh is paired with garlicky zucchini and the whole dish is then smothered in tahini yogurt sauce and spicy harissa oil. So many of my favorites on one plate.
Remy actually ate an entire half of a salmon fillet the night I served this, using the tahini yogurt as a dipping sauce. The freekeh-zucchini mixture, she pretty much didn’t touch, but hey! Small victory.
I’ll take it.
- 4 6-oz salmon fillets
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 cup freekeh, cooked according to package directions
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 zucchini, sliced lengthwise and then crosswise into half moons
- 8 dates, chopped
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1½ cups plain yogurt
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp harissa
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Pat the salmon fillets dry with a paper towel and season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet (I used my enameled cast iron skillet). Place the salmon skin side down in the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes over medium-high heat or until crispy. Flip the salmon over and cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until cooked to desired doneness. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic to the pan and saute for 1 minutes, or until fragrant. Add in the zucchini and a pinch of salt. Saute until the zucchini is tender, about 5-6 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the freekeh, dates, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- For the tahini yogurt sauce, whisk together the yogurt, tahini, and garlic in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- For the harissa oil, combine the harissa and olive oil in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, or until harissa is sizzling and the oil starts to turn a deep red. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Divide the zucchini freekeh mixture among 4 serving bowls. Top with a salmon fillet. Drizzle with the tahini yogurt sauce and the harissa oil, to taste.
My favorite salmon recipes: