This recipe is in response to all the concerned reader mail I received complaining that I simply don’t post enough Jamie Oliver recipes…
You know how you always seem to have that long standing invite out to someone – that person or couple who has an open invitation to come over for a home cooked meal whenever the planets align in such a way that you all happen to have the same night free? Well, this is what you do when that blessed event occurs with just two hours notice.
Jamie Oliver’s Tray Baked Salmon w/ Green Beans & Basil Lemon Aioli
7 ounces (or so) fresh french style green beans
10 – 15 cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half if large
1 handful good olives, pit removed and roughly chopped
1 handful fresh basil leaves
4 salmon fillets
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
for the aioli
1/2 fresh garlic clove
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 cups olive oil (Jamie suggests 1 cup regular, 1 cup extra virgin)
handful fresh basil leaves
lemon juice to taste
salt & pepper
Step 1: First, make the aioli. Smash the garlic w/ a pinch of kosher salt in a pestle & mortar (or form a paste by chopping the garlic and rubbing the course salt into it with the sides of a large knife). Place the egg yolk & mustard in a small bowl and whisk. Add olive oil starting with tiny bits, whisking all the while. Once you have added 1/2 cup of oil you can start adding it in bigger amounts, until it is all whisked in. Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t look like mayonnaise right away, just keep whisking. Once an aioli has been formed (takes 5 or 6 minutes), add in the garlic paste and lemon juice to taste. Again using the pestle & mortar, smash the basil leaves with a bit of coarse salt. Add this to the aioli. Check for enough salt and add some pepper. Cover and pop in the fridge until a few minutes before dinner. NOTE: You could always make this in a food processor, just remember to add the oil very slowly. Step 2: Prep your green beans. Add the beans to a large pot of boiling salted water, for just 3 -4 minutes. Remove from the water with a strainer, and add the beans to a large bowl tossing them while hot with the torn up basil leaves, tomatoes, olives, and a good drizzle of olive oil. Allow to sit. Step 3: Prepare a large roasting pan by rubbing the bottom with some olive oil, and sprinkling coarse salt over the bottom. Place the salmon fillets together, flesh side down, squeezing some lemon juice over the top of the fillets. Dump the bowl of green beans into the pan as well. If you have made potatoes (mine were boiled and cubed the day before for potato salad), dump those in the pan as well, and toss with some oil and fresh herbs, like rosemary or dill. Step 4: When ready to cook, place the entire pan in a preheated 475 degree oven for 10 minutes. Step 5: Assemble each plate by removing the skin from each fillet, and topping the fish with a generous spoonful of aioli.
The sheer genius of this dinner is that steps 1-3 can easily be done before your guests arrive, leaving you with little to do in the kitchen once your party is underway. If you have a large enough pan, you could easily double or even triple this recipe with the same outcome. Just keep the filled pan in the fridge until you are ready to pop in the oven (though I recommend bringing the pan close to room temp before you do). There is bound to be a guest who offers to help you in the kitchen once dinner is being served, and you can take them up on it by allowing them to spoon the aioli on the salmon once you have removed the skin, and plating the green beans and potatoes.
(Food Blogger Note: You might want to have your camera prepped and ready to go so you don’t have to ask your guests to stop eating so you can photograph their food, as I did here).
This quick dinner party recipe also left me with plenty of time to whip up an appetizer plate of salami and cheese, along with crostini and a white bean dip. I had bought a roll of cookie dough just so I could offer something yummy for dessert, but our guests brought some beautiful pastries over that we enjoyed with our coffee. Not including wine, I probably spent a grand total of $35 on this dinner…not bad for feeding 4 hungry New Yorkers.