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30-Minute Cook: SUPER SALMON

Exhausted by dinner-time but still want a healthy meal? Our new blogger, Carole Beck, will be sharing her favourite healthy 30-minute meals every fortnight. This week’s culinary adventure: fuss-free but speedy ways with salmon fillets. 

After getting home from work, and once I’ve put the kids in bed, I often whack on some salmon for a mid-week dinner. It’s tasty, filling and I love the way it cooks quickly with minimal faffing about with bones or fishy odours. Midweek, I really don’t want to deal with the lingering smells of sardines or mackerel.

Then there’s the health aspect. Like many people, I’m keen to hit my oily fish quota every week. Oily fish is a good source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, which aid in brain development in children and protect the heart. The UK’s Food Standards Agency currently recommends that we eat two portions of fish a week, at least one of which should be oily, for example, salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, pilchards or fresh tuna.

Some weeks I eat trout or fish pie, but mainly I stick to salmon as it’s so easy to prepare when you’re so tired and hungry after a long day battling with work and your commute, reading bedtime stories and cajoling small kids into bed.

But the trouble is that anything you eat regularly can get boring.

So with this in mind, I’ve been testing out different recipes to make a fillet of salmon a tad more exciting, while still making sure that it’ll be on your plate within 30 minutes. And with minimal fuss too.

Harissa and yoghurt salmon

Harissa and yoghurt salmon

This is based on a recipe I found in the Waitrose Kitchen magazine. I like this served with couscous, plus natural yoghurt on the side, as the marinade can be quite spicy.

Serves 2

Preparation time 24 minutes (including marinating time)

Cooking time 4 to 6 minutes

1 tbsp harissa paste
Juice of half a lemon
100g Greek-style natural yoghurt
2 salmon fillets

Mix the harissa, lemon juice and yoghurt in a large dish. Season. Add the salmon fillets to the mix, and leave to marinate for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, use this time to boil a kettle to make stock and prepare couscous according to packet instructions, plus some veg.

Once the 20 minutes is up, heat half tablespoon oil over a medium heat in a frying pan. Scrape off the excess marinade from the fish. Lay the fillets flesh-side down and fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.


Chilli, lemon and pepper salmon

chilli, pepper and lemon salmon

This one has been inspired by Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Crispy Salmon from his book Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals: A Revolutionary Approach to Cooking Good Food Fast
My version works well for those nights when you are too exhausted to do his extra twiddly bits. (That’s most week nights as far as I’m concerned.)

Serves 2

Preparation time 10 mins
Cooking time 20 minutes

2 salmon fillets
1 red pepper, halved, deseeded and sliced
2 fresh red chillies, sliced
1 lemon, zest finely grated
Salt and pepper to season
Olive oil
Turn on the oven to 175 °C. Pour a drizzle of olive oil into a roasting pan, and lay the salmon in the pan. Pour another drizzle of olive oil on to the salmon and sprinkle the lemon zest and chilli on top. Make sure you rub the flavours in to the fish as well. Season. Turn the fish so that it’s skin side up and arrange the roasted red peppers around it in the pan.

Pop it in the oven for 20 minutes, or you can alternatively grill it for that length of time too. While it’s cooking, you can prepare some salad or veg and rice or quinoa.


Salmon wrapped in Parma ham

Salmon fillet wrapped in Parma ham

With the fastest preparation time, this is my go-to dish if we want a super-fast salmon dish. And it’s perfect for meat-eaters who are reluctant to give up their carnivorous fix.

Serves 2

Preparation time 2 minutes
Cooking time 20 minutes

2 salmon fillets
4 to 6 slices of Parma ham

Turn on the oven to 175 °C. While it’s heating up, wrap two to three slices of Parma ham around each fillet, so that it’s nearly covered.

Put it in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. (Check with a skewer that it’s done first.) That’s it. This one goes well served with puy lentils or new potatoes, and salad.


Carole BeckCarole is a health and parenting journalist, and has three children, aged seven, five and two. She lives in London, and writes a blog at Healthier Mummy about trying to lead a healthier family life. Follow her at @healthiermummy.


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