30-minute meal: One-tray salmon grill with cider vinaigrette

In today's world, it appears as though people are eager for quick and dirty tips to achieve near enough anything. Food, of course, is one of them! Juggling a full-time PhD and other academic and non-academic commitments, I find that most of the time I am flat out and wishing that I had a butler and a chef to do domestic chores for me. Ah, one can dream! Of course, the reality is, I've had to become creative with my time so that I can put together meals that I know I'd still enjoy despite minimal effort (which I'm sure some of you will have noticed from recent posts). For example, twice a week, after getting home from the gym, I would first put my washing on, then get cracking with the cooking. I time it such that it takes roughly under 40 minutes, so that I can eat what I've knocked up, then put up my clean washing.

This dish is exactly one of those dishes that I've timed well and have made countless times. It's easy, fast, nutritious and bloody tasty too (if I do say so myself)! For this one-tray salmon grill (or bake, if that's how you roll), you will need:

6 tenderstem broccoli spears
6 asparagus spears
2 fresh jalapeño peppers
10 cherry/baby plum tomatoes
2 salmon fillets of your choice - I used Scottish salmon for this one.
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a bit extra for the salmon
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp cider vinegar

First of all, preheat your grill to 175-80ºC. Get a baking tray and put some tin foil over it. Wash all the veg (but not the fish!!! Unless you want your kitchen bench to glow from bacteria under UV light. No seriously don't wash fish/meat!), but do not dry them! Instead, lay them out flat on the tray nice and neat as in the photo on the right. The moisture should help scald the veggies. Now, lovingly oil your salmon fillets all over, and make sure that they are well seasoned with salt and pepper. At this point the grill should be ready for the tray to go in, if not wait a couple of minutes. Put the tray in high, close to the grill but not so close that you'll set your smoke alarm off (we've all done that at some point, right?!). Set the timer for 25 minutes. At the 14-minute mark, your veg, particularly the tomatoes should be cooked through (the broccoli less so). Flip all the veg, so it grills evenly. Do the same with the salmon fillets (i.e. the skin should be facing the grill). Replace the tray back into the grill. Whilst it's all cooking, emulsify the cider vinegar and the extra virgin olive oil. The easiest way to do this is to get a small jar, pour the liquids in, make sure it's sealed tight, and get shaking! That's it, you're all done. Once the timer goes off, plate up and eat!

Half the tray on a plate!

Half the tray on a plate!

One of the best parts of this recipe is that if you're dining solo, the leftovers are a delight to have for lunch the next day. It's easy to assemble into one tub - very portable for those who rely on public transport. Also, the very slight charring of the vegetables gives a lovely smoked flavour to this dish, which really sets in when left overnight. It's definitely one of my classic recipes which I go to quite frequently. Also, it's one of those things that's easy to jazz up - this one was pretty basic in that I just had it with a very simple cider vinaigrette. You can have it with Sriracha yogurt for example, or smoked paprika and chilli mayo! It's really up to you to experiment, and I hope that you do. When you do, post your photos and use the hashtag #TheAcademicook so that I can see your lovely cooking! If not, comment below! :-)

Hungry for more,
The Academicook