I was snuggled in bed the other night, way past my bedtime, watching, as I love to do, reruns of Nigella Bites. I love Nigella. If you don’t, that’s fine, just please indulge me. Yes, yes, and yes…like the vast multitude I have long fallen for her turn of phrase, the way she makes eating and cooking so sensual (which it should be! It is about the senses after all), that accent, the way she touches her food and eats with such gusto, that gorgeous mug of hers, and those butter-loving curves that brazenly and blissfully defy every magazine cover out there. I have long believed food was about pleasure and Nigella seems to embody that idea to perfection.
So, there I was, totally enraptured, and there she was, taking about “trashy food”. Now, by trashy, she did not at all mean bad food. Simply kitschy but fully satisfying food that may be declared as déclassé by some, although enjoyed in secret by most. Like fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
When I think of food that fall under this category, I always think of things cooked with mayonnaise. Mayonnaise seems to have gotten a bad rap nowadays. An unhealthy, tacky, throwback kind of food. I, however, unashamedly love it. And food cooked with it, especially the baked fish sort, never fail to make me feel content and comforted.
Baked Salmon with Mayonnaise and Dill
- 2 250-gram salmon fillets
- Olive oil
- 1 onion, peeled and sliced
- 1 bunch of fresh dill
- 1 lemon
- 4-5 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Chop enough of the dill leaves to make 2 tablespoons and set aside. Zest the lemon and set the lemon zest aside.
- In the bottom of a baking dish that will fit both salmon fillets, spread the sliced onions. Drizzle the onions with some olive oil, and then season with salt and pepper. Lay the rest of your whole dill fronds on top of your onions. Slice 4 slices from the middle of the lemon and lay on top of the dill. Set the rest of the lemon aside to serve alongside the salmon. Lay the salmon fillets on top of the lemon. Season the fillets with salt and pepper.
- In a bowl mix the mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons chopped dill, and lemon zest. Season very lightly with salt and pepper.
- Spread the dill mayonnaise evenly on top of the fillets. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
- Bake the salmon in a pre-heated 350F oven for about 20-25 minutes. The salmon can be slightly rare in the middle unless you are serving this to very small children or pregnant women (although that would depend on the kid or the woman!). You know the fish is done when it flakes easily when pierced with a small knife.
- Serve with your remaining lemon sliced into quarters.
This is a dish that I have made in one version or another, that I cannot imagine life without. I’ll even make a solo portion if the craving comes along (simply reduce to 1 fillet and half all the ingredients). The pairing of salmon and dill (and lemon) is known far and wide, covered in a generous blanket of mayonnaise and crowned with an equally generous grating of Parmesan cheese it is the perfect combination of fresh flavors and campy wickedness.
If you have any leftovers (and I admit to sometimes making sure I do!) you can flake everything up (including any of the softened onions), mix, and use it as an amazing sandwich spread.
Hope you are having a great weekend filled with comforting treats and guilty pleasures!