Friday, January 17, 2014

Caesar Salmon

I work full-time, so I am a big fan of easy dinner recipes that are also quick to prepare, even on a busy weeknight.  This is one of those recipes.  In fact, it is so simple that it really isn't even a "recipe."

We love salmon at my house, but it's pretty expensive, so we don't have it as often as we'd like.  But, when it's on sale in the seafood case, I always take advantage!  This is one of our favorite ways to enjoy salmon.

You only need three things for this entree, and they're shown in the picture above.  You need a nice, big salmon fillet (I prefer fresh, but frozen and thawed salmon is fine, too), some Caesar salad dressing, and bread crumbs.  Now, you can really "do your own thing" with these ingredients.  If you want to use low-fat Caesar dressing, that's fine (but I wouldn't use the fat-free).  If you want to use panko bread crumbs, or Italian bread crumbs, or if you want to make your own bread crumbs, great.  It's all good.  But the Caesar dressing is the key to this preparation.  Caesar dressing is full of yummy flavors like garlic and pepper and Parmesan.  So really, the dressing is doing all of the seasoning for you!

First, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.  Place the salmon in a shallow baking pan (you can spray with cooking spray first, if you like).  Then, spread some of the dressing right from the bottle onto that beautiful salmon fillet.  How much?  Well, that depends on how much salmon you have.  I usually use about 1 to 2 tablespoons of dressing for a pound of salmon.  But more or less is just fine.  Oh, and you don't need to brush any oil or butter or anything else on the fillet first.  The dressing has enough fat in it to keep the salmon moist.  I don't even salt and pepper the fish, because I think the dressing provides enough of both, but if you want to add salt or pepper, this would be the time to do it.

The next step is to sprinkle some bread crumbs over the dressing-coated salmon.  Again, use as much or as little as you like.  Now, if you want the top of the salmon to be all brown and crunchy, you can combine your bread crumbs with a little melted butter and toss before sprinkling them over the fish.  I actually prefer to do this, but my very weird children like it when I use just plan bread crumbs, right from the container, no added butter.  (Yeah.  Ever wonder if your kids are really yours?  This is one of those times.)

So, that's it!  Now all you do is pop the pan into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or so, until the salmon flakes easily and is done all the way through.

I like to serve Caesar Salmon with either buttered noodles or some kind of rice, and a green vegetable or salad.  Oh, and if you have any salmon left over, it is delicious for lunch the next day, chilled and flaked over top of (dare I say it?) a big Caesar salad (or any salad, really).  Yum!!

Caesar Salmon

1 lb. salmon fillet (fresh or frozen and thawed)
2 T. (or more) Caesar salad dressing
3 T. (or more) plain or seasoned bread crumbs
2 tsp. melted butter (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place salmon in a shallow, greased baking pan.  Brush with dressing.  Combine bread crumbs with melted butter (if using) and sprinkle over top of salmon, or sprinkle with crumbs right from the package.

Place baking pan in center of oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until salmon is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.  Be careful not to overcook!

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