Meet my new favorite way to cook salmon. The low oven temperature means it's just about impossible to mess up. And the sides—tender kale, plump chickpeas, and caramelized lemons—all come together in the same pan. In other words: a pretty dang impressive meal for something that's mostly hands-off and totally weeknight-friendly. Just don't forget the dollop of Greek yogurt on top. —Emma Laperruque
Fry the lemons: Chop off the ends of 2 lemons, then cut lengthwise into quarters. Use your knife to remove the white pith running down the center, then use your hands to remove the seeds. Thinly slice each lemon quarter crosswise into triangles. Blot these with a paper towel to remove excess juice. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a very large, oven-safe, non-reactive skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s shimmery and hot, add the lemons. Fry, stirring every so often, until deeply browned—about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with salt.
Cook the kale: Wipe out the skillet with a damp cloth to remove any remaining lemon char or grease. Add another 2 tablespoons oil and set over medium heat. When the oil is shimmery and hot, add the kale. Sprinkle with salt and sauté for a couple minutes until just wilted. Cut the heat.
Add the drained chickpeas to the kale, plus the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and another pinch of salt. Give a quick toss. Halve the remaining lemon and squeeze some juice on top. Toss and taste. Add more lemon juice if you want, or not. (Remember, that fried lemon will be sprinkled on top!)
Rub the salmon fillets with some olive oil and sprinkle with salt (and black pepper, if you want). Set them on top of the kale-chickpea mixture.
Stick the skillet in the oven and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the salmon reaches an internal temperature of 120°F. Even when it’s done, it may still look slightly “raw”—this is a result of the slow roasting. Other cues: a fork should meet no resistance, the fish should be starting to flake, and the flesh should separate easily from the skin.
To serve: Spoon some chickpea-kale mixture onto a plate. Top with a salmon fillet. Dollop with Greek yogurt and sprinkle with fried lemon pieces. Add a pinch of flaky salt.
Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.