Sometimes you land on a recipe that becomes an instant classic in your home – a real staple in your weeknight arsenal, if you will. These recipes must fit a lot of criteria: they need to be delicious (obviously), require little prep work, use things you probably have hanging out in your fridge or pantry (or at least be easy enough to pick up on your way home from work), not make an enormous mess in the kitchen, work well as leftovers, and preferably be ready to eat within an hour or less. It’s no surprise that not many recipes fulfill all these needs. I’ve only discovered a few so far, like the Roasted Sausage with Broccoli and Fennel from Food52, Pesto and Pea Tortellini Soup from Bev Cooks, Honey Mustard Chicken from Foodiecrush, and the recipe this one is based on from Bon Appetit.
It should also come as no surprise that this recipe originated from Jenny Rosenstrach, Genius of Weeknight Meals and creator of the blog Dinner: A Love Story, as well as the author of two best-selling cookbooks. We’ve made various iterations of this recipe so far – one of its finer points is how adaptable it can be. We use her recipe as a blueprint, using what we have in the kitchen or what we’re in the mood for, and that’s how this version came about. It’s my new favorite.
Actually, I fine-tuned this recipe at the request of my friend Shannon. She asked me to create something along these lines for the blog because she wants to hang a print of it on the wall of her kitchen, along with a handful of my other prints. I threw some ideas around in my head and landed on this combination as my ideal version of the recipe. I lucked out because it turned out perfectly the first time we tested it. Then we made it a few more times and it was still awesome. The thinly-sliced sweet potatoes, along with the kale, act as sponges for the soy-ginger glaze and become total flavor bombs. Be sure to remove the peel from the orange after it’s cooked and mix the orange segments in there as well. It makes for a refreshing contrast and it’s one of my favorite parts of the dish. Seriously guys, this is so delicious. Nailed it.
Honestly, I think if you could only make one recipe from my blog, it should probably be this one. It’s too easy. The hardest part is folding up the packets before they go into the oven. (This task is made easier with four hands instead of two, if you can enlist a helper.) And once you make it a few times you’ll find yourself thinking of ways to play with it and make it your own. I promise. It really is a perfect weeknight meal. The most time-consuming part is the chopping of vegetables, but even that doesn’t take too long because you don’t need a ton of them. Although the packet is delicious on its own, we like to round the meal out a bit with a pot of rice and some sweet onion that we sauté on the stovetop. This allows us to stretch everything into two full meals. You could even throw chopped onion into your packet with everything else, but it can get a little crowded in there so we do it separately.
There’s almost nothing I love more than a meal that allows me to clean the kitchen while it’s cooking, so that when we sit down to eat the kitchen isn’t a hot mess. This is one of those meals!! Pop those packets in the oven, put a pot of rice on to cook and some onions in a skillet, and then go to town on cleaning the kitchen while giving your onions an occasional stir. Within twenty minutes you’ll have a phenomenal dinner and (hopefully) a clean kitchen. Enjoy your dinner and then quickly wash your dinner plates, put away your leftovers, fill up your rice pot with some soapy water to soak overnight, and then go about your business with a lower stress level. At least that’s how it works for me. The older I get the more I appreciate the small things in life, like name-brand toilet paper, perfect weeknight meals and a clean kitchen.
If you make this, please let me know if it completes your life like it does mine. What are your favorite weeknight meals? I want to know all of your secrets.
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 cups chopped kale
- 1 small sweet potato, very thinly sliced
- 2-3 cups chopped broccoli (about ½ of a small head)
- 2 6-oz. salmon filets
- 4 slices of fresh orange
- olive oil
- In a small sauce pan over medium heat, bring the soy sauce, fresh ginger and dark brown sugar to a simmer, whisking to combine. When you see some bubbles and the sugar seems to have dissolved, take it off the heat. Whisk in the mustard and honey. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lay out a large piece of parchment paper, about 12 by 18 inches.
- In the center of the parchment paper, put half of your torn kale in a small pile.
- Place half of the sweet potato slices on top of the kale. (We used a mandoline to slice our sweet potatoes. If you don't have one or can't get your sweet potatoes extremely thin - like potato chip thin - they won't cook through in the 20 minutes and you should cook them separately. Just a warning.)
- Lay half of the broccoli on top of the sweet potatoes.
- Put one of the salmon filets on top of your vegetable pile. Drizzle with a little less than half of the sauce.
- Place two orange slices on top of the salmon. Drizzle with a little more sauce, and then a little bit of olive oil.
- Fold up the parchment paper over the salmon and vegetable pile, crimping the edges closed at the top. This is easier with four hands. Just try to get it as closed as possible so the steam will stay in and you won't have any sauce leaking out.
- Repeat with the remaining ingredients for the second salmon packet.
- Place both packets on a sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes.
- Serve immediately. (Goes well with some rice and sautéed onions.)