My simplest, most nutritious dinner goes like this: Throw olive oil-tossed broccoli in a big sheet pan and put it in the oven; microwave-defrost a frozen fish fillet that's been sitting in the freezer; salt, pepper, maybe Old Bay it; let it join the broccoli; take it all out and throw a chile vinaigrette over it all. It's done in 30 minutes.
It was only a matter of time before I realized not all fillets of fish cook equal. My method worked well for cod, but when salmon went in the oven, I got impatient, and so did the broccoli, charring away in a decidedly unstylish manner.
Enter the very handy Fish Roasting Cheat Sheet, courtesy of Rukmini Iyer's new book Dinner's in the Oven (Chronicle Books), out March 6. The pop art-like book is full of simple but effective, choose-your-own-adventure tips, as well as actual recipes. (We've got both for you.)
But first things first: Memorize—or print, or bookmark, or keep referencing—the following list.
Get it tattooed.
The Fish Roasting Cheat Sheet
Iyer ends with a note: "The thinner your fillet, the quicker it will cook, no matter the weight. A cod fillet cut from the tail, which is thinner, will cook faster than one cut from the middle, which is thicker, even though they might both weigh 4 ounces (125g), so bear this in mind when using the chart."
Since everyone's oven is different, keep a close eye on the fish in the last five minutes of it's cook time, cutting a fillet and checking out the inside to check for doneness. Take the time to learn your oven's hot spots (and eat a lot of toast while doing so).
If you want a recipe to guide you before you start riffing, try this garlicky steam-roasted salmon with broccoli and a vinaigrette of lime, ginger, chile, and peanuts.
- 1 small head broccoli, cut into small florets
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 2 tablespoons sesame or vegetable oil
- 4 salmon fillets (about 1 3/4 ib)
- 1 inch piece of ginger, grated
- 1 fresh red chile, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
- Zest and juice of 2 limes
- 1/2 cup (30g) finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 6 tablespoons (55g) roughly chopped peanuts
Tell us about your roasted fish dinners in the comments!