Make Dinner Wait for You: Simple Salt and Pepper Salmon with Lemon Thyme Rice and Roasted Green Beans

Next week I’ll have a post on Scary Mommy‘s Scary Mommy Society. To go along with it, I’m offering you some of my strategies for getting dinner on the table. Check out my other family-themed posts: the good, the bad and the ugly.

Today: Make Dinner Wait for You

I like weeknight recipes that are not time-dependent. If there’s an emergency poo-plosion, dinner must wait!

Contrast a typical spaghetti alla carbonara that cries out for you to sit and eat as soon as its noodles are cooked, to a typical baked ziti that relaxes in a warm oven (or even on the counter under foil) for an extra 20-30 minutes waiting for you to enjoy its stringy cheese.

Recipes with a bit of patience are easy to find if you’re on the lookout but very few include fish. Fish doesn’t wait for anyone.

That’s why I developed this fairly patient fish dinner.

Note that it’s not about the seasonings (rub or splash on whatever you like). It’s more about the method:

  • Do a tiny bit of measuring and seasoning.
  • Put the salmon and side dishes in a hot oven for a short time.
  • Turn the oven off.
  • Everything cooks as the oven cools.
  • When everything’s ready, the oven is warm and unlikely to burn anything. Your food waits until you’ve gotten back from the change table and everyone is ready to enjoy.

(Note: This method has been tested in three different ovens and it worked perfectly. However, different ovens cool at different rates and I wonder if all ovens will yield similar results. If your oven cools very quickly, you may not be able to let dinner wait for as long. Please let me know how it works for you and for your oven.)

Simple Salt and Pepper Salmon with Lemon Thyme Rice and Roasted Green Beans

Serves 4-5

  • 3 tsp olive oil (divided: 1 tsp for the salmon, 1tsp for the beans, 1 tsp for the rice)
  • 1 – 2lb side of salmon
  • 1 ½ tsp coarse sea salt (divided: ½ tsp for each side of the salmon, ½ tsp for the beans)
  • ¾ tsp coarse black pepper (divided: ¼ tsp for each side of the salmon, ¼ tsp for the beans)
  • 12 oz. pre-trimmed and pre-washed green beans
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
  • ¼ tsp fine grind salt (table or kosher)
  • ½ tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Fill a kettle with water and put it on to boil.

Line a 9″x13″ cake pan with foil. Rub 1 tsp of the olive oil on the foil. Place the salmon on the oiled foil, skin side up. Season skin with ½ tsp coarse sea salt and ¼ tsp coarse black pepper. Flip the salmon over. Sprinkled top with ½ tsp coarse sea salt and ¼ tsp coarse black pepper.

Put the green beans in a small roasting pan or casserole dish. Add 1 tsp olive oil, ½ tsp coarse sea salt and ¼ tsp coarse black pepper. Toss to coat.

Measure rice into a small oven-safe pot that has a tight fitting lid. Add the fine grind salt, dried thyme, lemon juice and 1 tsp olive oil. Stir. Bring kettle back up to the boil. Add 2 cups boiling water to the rice. Give it a quick stir and then cover the pot. Put the covered pot into the oven.

Quickly put the salmon and the beans into the oven as well. Set a timer for 10 minutes.

When the timer sounds, turn the oven off. (Note: if you’re at the change table when the timer beeps, it’s not the end of the world. Turn the oven off when you get back, the sooner the better though.)

Set a timer for 20 minutes. When it beeps you can eat. Or, let everything wait in the oven for an extra 10-15 minutes.

Before serving, uncover the rice and fluff it gently with a fork. Cut the salmon width-wise into 4-5 portions.

Any leftover salmon and green beans are fantastic on a spinach salad the next day. To make the salad: Put spinach leaves on a plate. Spray them lightly with olive oil (using a kitchen spritzer like this one), sprinkle on a few drops of lemon juice, 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt and 1/4 tsp coarse pepper. Add pieces of the salmon, cut up pieces of the green beans and some red or green onion.

Find out more about salmon and get more salmon recipes at Foodista:

Atlantic Salmon


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  1. #1 by Katerina on January 29, 2011 - 1:11 pm

    This is such a healthy and packed with flavor dish.

  2. #2 by cookthestory on January 29, 2011 - 1:26 pm

    Yes, it is both healthy and flavorful, despite the very few ingredients. It’s one of our mid-week favorites: easy, wholesome, simple.

  3. #3 by Phyllis on January 29, 2011 - 2:38 pm

    This sounds amazing. Healthy, quick and so easy. Love it.

  4. #4 by amanda on February 1, 2011 - 1:33 am

    That looks so easy and healthy too! I have a munchkin who loves “orange fish.” We’ll have to try it soon.

  5. #6 by lisaiscooking on February 2, 2011 - 2:45 pm

    This is genius! I love that it cooks all together in the oven, and the flexible resting time would work for anyone’s schedule. Sounds delicious too!

    • #7 by cookthestory on February 2, 2011 - 3:16 pm

      Thank you! It is one of the easiest way of cooking fish that I’ve found yet. Although, I’m currently working on a kedgeree with hot-smoked salmon that might just take the win.

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