Hello everyone!  I hope you all are enjoying your weekend.  Today I’m going to show you a dinner I cook several times a week.  It is healthy, delicious, easy and affordable!  It’s a simple dinner that you can make in around fifteen to twenty minutes–perfect after a long day.  The only thing you’ll need that you may not have (if you’re a college student, that is) is a small cast iron pan.  I can’t quite recall what the exact size it is, but you’ll see it in the pictures.

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First, heat your oven to 450 degrees.  Then, use salt and pepper to season the salmon.  I use salmon with the skin on, as I love the crunchy texture of it.  I get these salmon filets frozen in a pack of 6 for $22 at Whole Foods!  I thaw them in the fridge overnight and they’re good to go.  They taste super fresh and I cannot tell that they have been frozen.

Heat the cast iron with a bit of olive oil, enough to cover the pan.  (NOTE: PLEASE use olive oil.  Do not use canola, or any low-heat cooking oil.  You must use an oil that can handle high heat.)  When the pan is smoking, or near smoking, put the salmon top-down, or non-skin side down to sear it.  After one minute, flip it over and sear the skin for a minute.

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While the skin is searing, add your asparagus.  You can also use sliced cherry tomatoes, which taste wonderful as well.  I grew up eating raw asparagus from the garden, so I love asparagus because it reminds me of home.  Then, I place two slivers of butter on the asparagus to give it a bit more flavor.  You don’t have to do this, but it definitely crisps up the asparagus just the way I like.  Put the pan into your pre-heated oven and roast for ten minutes.  Having a pan that can cook on both the stove and in the oven is what first attracted me to cast iron cookware.  I really recommend you getting a small one like this for yourself.  I believe I got this guy for only $12.

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Most of the time I eat the salmon and asparagus alone, but today I added a couple of slices from a fresh loaf of pain de campagne.  I hadn’t had breakfast and only a small lunch (it was a rather lazy Saturday) so I was quite hungry.

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Aaaand, the final product!  Super simple and super yummy.  Previously, I had been too intimidated to cook fish.  I used to stick to the simple chicken breast, but got so bored with it.  Plus, a frozen chicken breast tastes like…well…a frozen chicken breast.  And fresh chicken (in NYC at least) can be rather expensive and takes more effort and time than I’m willing to give when I’m tired and hungry.  As long as I remember to set out the salmon the night before, this dish is quick and easy.

My plan today was to cook a live lobster, but my body decided otherwise and I was cursed with pink eye.  I decided the lobster wouldn’t want its last memory to be staring into my dead, horrifying red eyes, so that plan has moved to next weekend!

I had some of the Montepulciano wine with this dinner.  Though white usually goes with seafood, I strangely crave red wine when the weather gets nicer.  I was chatting with my roommate while cooking, so no music this round.  I did happen to watch this Julia Child episode while eating, though.  I adore how she acts on camera.  She’s so entertaining to watch.

PSA: Make sure you turn your oven/stove fan on.  When that butter hits the asparagus, my kitchen AND living room explode into a cloud of smoke and steam.  Moving it into the oven won’t help you either, as the steam will happily find a way to escape from some hole.  Turn on that fan and open a window or be prepared for 5+ minutes of incessant blaring from your lovely smoke alarm.  Running through your apartment like a madwoman while waving a towel around does make for a good arm workout, though.

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