This Nov. 9, 2015 photo shows roasted salmon with lemons, prunes and olives in Concord, NH. It makes for a pretty dramatic and colorful holiday meal centerpiece. Plus, roasted salmon is incredibly easy, quick (taking minutes, not hours like many roasts), and is versatile. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

This Nov. 9, 2015 photo shows roasted salmon with lemons, prunes and olives in Concord, NH. It makes for a pretty dramatic and colorful holiday meal centerpiece. Plus, roasted salmon is incredibly easy, quick (taking minutes, not hours like many roasts), and is versatile. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

A holiday roast doesn’t need to be beef or bird. Try salmon!

  • By MELISSA D'ARABIAN
  • Tuesday, December 15, 2015 6:13pm
  • LifeFood

Who says a holiday roast has to be red meat or poultry? Take a page from my French husband’s family’s book of traditions and serve salmon!

I like to buy one single large fillet if possible, then serve it on the largest platter I can find. It makes for a pretty dramatic and colorful holiday meal centerpiece. Plus, roasted salmon is incredibly easy, quick (taking minutes, not hours like many roasts), and is versatile. Since we try to eat fatty fish twice a week in our home, this holiday favorite helps get us there, year-round.

My favorite roasted salmon strategy couldn’t be easier. Just brush the fillet with seasoned olive oil (which can be as simple as salt, pepper and oil), roast it quickly at high heat, then top it with a quick vinaigrette-style sauce. Mix together almost any combination of herbs, spices and aromatics with some acid (such as lemon juice or red wine vinegar) and oil, then spoon it over the just-roasted, piping hot fish. Delicious!

The hardest part about this dish? Not overcooking it! My advice is to take it out a couple minutes before you think it is done. It will be perfect. Or you also could use an instant thermometer and cook it to 135 F.

Roasted Salmon With Lemons, Prunes, and Olives

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 6

For the salmon:

2-pound wild salmon or steelhead trout fillet

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

2 lemons, thinly sliced, seeds removed

For the topping:

3/4 cup prunes, pitted and halved

3/4 cup briny, green olives, pitted, lightly chopped or left whole, as desired

2 tablespoons capers

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon olive oil

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 450 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment.

Set the salmon on the prepared baking sheet.

In a small bowl, mix together the oil, garlic, lemon juice and a hefty pinch each of salt and pepper. Spread the seasoned oil over the fish, then arrange the lemon slices over it. Bake until cooked through, but the flesh is still a little translucent, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, set the prunes in a medium bowl. Pour 1/2 cup of boiling water over them and set aside to soften for several minutes.

In a second medium bowl, mix together the olives, capers, parsley, dill, lemon juice and zest, and the olive oil. Drain the prunes, then add those. Mix well, then season with salt and pepper. As soon as the salmon comes out of the oven, carefully transfer it to a serving platter and spoon the prune mixture over it.

Nutrition information per serving: 340 calories; 150 calories from fat (44 percent of total calories); 17 g fat (2.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 95 mg cholesterol; 520 mg sodium; 16 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 9 g sugar; 34 g protein.

Food Network star Melissa d’Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook, “Supermarket Healthy.” http://www.melissadarabian.net.

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