Monday’s Coming, Gotcha Covered

Let’s face it, if you’re working, Mondays are probably not your favorite day of the week. So when it comes to cooking dinner, you want something that is not work- or time-intensive. To address these constraints we have been adhering (for the most part) to the “Meatless Monday” mantra, and our subscription to Fine Cooking’s “Make It Tonight” series offers at least one or two options per week.

A recent listing was their Broiled Salmon with a White Bean, Kale and Bacon Ragoût by Tony Rosenfeld. Not only did the components appeal to our culinary sensibilities, with the addition of steamed green beans, the meal was also chock-full of healthy ingredients. Yes, there is some bacon in the ragoût, so technically it is not totally meatless, but it plays a minimal role and adds maximum flavor.

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The high heat of a broiler adds flavor fast to the salmon, which is lightly drizzled with the bacon fat. Speaking of bacon, I rarely indulge because it doesn’t seem to agree with me. However, there is one exception and that is the double-smoked, thick cut fresh bacon obtained at the Newtown Farmer’s Market. It may be the lack of nitrates, but whatever it is, I am not adversely affected, at least when eaten in small amounts.

Before I made the meal, I noted several reviewers cut back on the amount of olive oil because of the fat rendered by the bacon itself. So I took heed and measured out two tablespoons instead of the recommended three, but then totally forgot to incorporate that! It just so happened the bacon provided enough fat to drizzle over the four salmon fillets. It left very little in the skillet, but the kale wilted just fine without all of that extra oil.

Because our gas oven broiler is not as efficient as an electric one, it took a bit longer than the suggested 7-10 minutes. In the end, the hearty ragoût rounds out the dish nicely and adds substance to the overall meal. Now go ahead and make your Monday a little easier…

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Ingredients

  • 1/4 lb. thick-cut bacon (about 4 thick slices), cut crosswise into thin strips
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups packed thinly sliced kale leaves (stems removed)
  • 1-1/2 cups homemade or low-salt canned chicken broth
  • 15-1/2 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed well and drained
  • 1-1/2 lb. skinless salmon fillet, cut into 4 uniform pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme

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Four seasoned salmon fillets drizzled with a bit of bacon fat, are placed on a foil-lined baking sheet.

img_8699Once the bacon has rendered down, some minced garlic is added to the skillet.

img_8700On high heat, the sliced kale is wilted for a few minutes.

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The chicken broth and beans are brought to a boil, while reducing the heat to medium.

img_8705Depending on the strength of your broiler, the salmon will take 10 minutes or longer to cook.

Directions

  1. Set an oven rack 6 inches from the top element and heat the broiler to high.
  2. In a heavy skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon in the olive oil, stirring occasionally, until the bacon renders much of its fat and starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Use a spoon to remove 2 Tbs. of the bacon fat from the skillet and reserve in a small bowl.
  3. Add the garlic to the bacon in the skillet. Cook, stirring, until the garlic starts to sizzle, about 30 seconds. Raise the heat to high, add the kale, and sauté, stirring, until it starts to wilt, about 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the skillet, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
  4. While the beans are cooking, line a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with foil and arrange the salmon, skin side down, on it. Drizzle the reserved bacon fat over the salmon and season with 1/2 tsp. salt and a few generous grinds of black pepper.
  5. Broil until slightly firm to the touch, 7 to 10 minutes for medium (the salmon will be dark pink in the middle). Sprinkle half of the thyme over the salmon. Stir the remaining thyme into the beans and kale and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. To serve, spoon equal portions of the beans and kale onto dinner plates and top each with a piece of salmon. Serve immediately with a simple salad.
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