Smoked Paprika & Saigon Cinnamon Salmon Steaks with Roasted Peppers & Fennel

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Anybody else plunging themselves into a low-carb diet after indulging all Thanksgiving weekend? I can attest that after Stuffingpalooza 2012, I was definitely craving something fresh, clean and tasty that was not swimming in brown sugar or butter!  I also still had quite a few more leftover veggies to use up, so I thawed a couple salmon steaks and put my broiler to work for what turned out to be a simple yet rather satisfying dinner. I've had quite a few requests for low-carb and/or Paleo dishes, so I hope to focus even more on those in the future! This recipe will work fine on boneless salmon fillets as well, just adjust the cooking time so as not to overcook your fish.

Smoked paprika and Saigon cinnamon are both unique spices in their own right, but they come together brilliantly with a hint of citrus (I used lemon here; orange would be excellent too!) Anticipating a slew of "can you use regular paprika and regular cinnamon" questions, let me just say this. Sure, you can use "regular" cinnamon (in American stores it's typically Seylon cinnamon) or mildly sweet, standard paprika. But my dear Kitchenista, if you were making cookies from scratch and had the choice of rich, luscious dark chocolate chunks, or a bag of regular old semi-sweet chocolate chips, you'd go for the good stuff right? You can make great dishes with regular ingredients, but we're going for awesome here. That's why I feel strongly about smoked paprika, which I've already featured in a ton of recipes, and Saigon cinnamon, a new addition to my spice collection from Thanksgiving weekend. If there was a word to appropriately describe how Saigon cinnamon tastes more "cinnamon-y" that's what we'd use here. It's a sweeter, spicier version of the "regular" stuff , and a great way to elevate your savory dishes and desserts. Upgrade your spice're in for a treat.

Smoked Paprika & Saigon Cinnamon Salmon Steaks
with Roasted Peppers & Fennel

2 salmon steaks, approximately 1" thick
1 red bell pepper, cored & seeds removed
1 fennel bulb, trimmed & cored
Several large white mushrooms
1 sweet onion
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cloves garlic, minced
A few sprigs fresh thyme
2 lemons
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 - 1 tsp Saigon cinnamon*
Good quality extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper

*If you love cinnamon use a tad more, if you're scared use less. Saigon cinnamon is stronger so if you substitute the "regular" stuff a full teaspoon is fine.

Servings: 2
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 40 min
Equipment Needed: Oven safe dishes (2)

You'll want to get your roasted veggies in the oven first as those take longer to cook than the fish. Preheat the oven to 400°. Quarter the red bell pepper and fennel, slice the onion and halve the mushrooms. Feel free to replace these veggies with what you have on hand.

In a large baking dish, spread out the peppers, fennel, mushrooms and crushed garlic cloves. Top with onion slices and the thyme sprigs. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Add a good couple pinches of kosher salt and black pepper.

Roast the veggies uncovered, until they have softened and started to crisp around the edges, approximately 30 minutes.

While the veggies are roasting, you can prep your salmon steaks. Rinse and pat dry. I know I say this all the time, but isn't salmon just a beautiful piece of fish?

You can combine the marinade in a dish and then spread that on the salmon, or you can just do what I did and drizzle olive oil & lemon juice over the fish, season heavily with paprika, cinnamon and minced garlic, and use your hands to rub it all in.

When both sides of the salmon are coated, transfer to your baking dish and allow to marinate about 10 minutes or so. Add a dash of kosher salt & black pepper, then cover the dish with aluminum foil.

Bake in the center of the oven for about 10 minutes.

In the last 5 minutes of baking, turn the broiler on. Uncover the salmon and transfer to the highest rack in your oven. Broil for a few minutes on each side; the top of the salmon should be nicely browned and skin crisp. Don't overcook your fish; remember that we've already baked it.

I leave my veggies in the oven while the broiler is on and take everything out at the same time.

Remove and discard the thyme sprigs. Check your veggies for seasoning (a pinch of salt & pepper may be needed) and drizzle with a little more lemon juice.  

Spoon the roasted veggies on top of the broiled salmon and garnish with additional lemon wedges. Resist the urge to serve this over a bed of rice. I promise, you won't need it. 


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  1. Can I PLEASE come over for dinner?! It looks so good and your pictures are always amazing!