With the holidays in full swing, I’m thinking it’s more important than ever to put something healthy on the table tonight, or at least the very next night you have enough time to make a healthy meal possible. The sugar cookies and pies and casserole will be still be there on Christmas, and the champagne will still be there on New Year’s. Tonight, though, why not feel good about dinner?
Oven Roasted Maple BBQ Salmon is an easy, protein packed recipe that you can get on the table in 25 minutes. Serve it atop a pile of fresh greens dressed with lemon juice and olive oil or, for a heartier meal, alongside roasted parsnips, carrots or sweet potatoes.
Which salmon should you buy? Wild Alaskan salmon is the most sustainable choice. Wild Atlantic salmon population levels are too low due to overfishing and habitat destruction, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fish Watch. Atlantic salmon farmed in recirculating aquaculture systems are also a healthy, sustainable option.
- 4 (6 oz) salmon fillets
- 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place the salmon on the baking sheet and drizzle on the maple syrup and lemon juice.
- Mix the chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, cumin salt and black pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle liberally onto the remaining salmon fillets.
- Set the oven to 400 degrees and place the salmon into the oven right away (without waiting for it to come to temperature). Bake for 20 minutes.
About the Photographs
When I took the salmon fillets out of the oven I was struck by their deep red color and by the dark glaze created by the maple syrup and spices. To emphasize these, I placed the salmon on a simple black Mikasa plate – a gift from a neighbor – and then placed the plate on top of a rusty antique ceiling tile. I like how the subtle orange-browns of the rust bring out the deeper warm colors of the food. The only other props in these photographs are an antique fork and some loose spices – the same cumin and paprika I used in the BBQ rub.
I took these photos with my Nikon D80, using a 28mm f2.8 NIKKOR wide angle lens. I used a Lowell Ego tabletop light like this one, at around 6 p.m., in complete darkness (with all other lights turned off). The light was positioned directly to the right and slightly in front of the food. I used black foam boards behind and to the left of the food to create shadow. My ISO was set at 640, and the shutter speed was 200. The aperture was 2.8 in the close up photo at the top of the page and 3.5 in the wider shot below it.