Welcome to the new Dinner in Minutes! It is designed to simplify your weeknight meal plans by giving you a quick recipe that uses only the ingredients in our Dinner in Minutes Pantry. In other words, stock up, and you can come home and cook without stopping to shop. This update of The Washington Post’s long-standing Food section feature underscores our commitment to get you in the kitchen, cooking a tasty dish that takes no more than 40 minutes, start to finish — and often less.
You may notice that Dinner in Minutes recipes are written differently from others. Here’s how, and why: Since I took over the column in 2007, I wanted the “in Minutes” time to reflect all the prep and cooking steps. I found in testing those recipes that precious time could be saved when a certain amount of multitasking takes place — instead of gathering and prepping all the ingredients before any cooking begins. So you might chop chives for a garnish during the last few minutes something’s burbling on the stove top, or you might whisk together a dressing for fish that is still on the grill.
We will continue to offer “serve-with” suggestions, and even the occasional wine recommendation. In time — and with your reader feedback — we may include widely available seasonal ingredients. But for now, we’ll have plenty of recipes for you to try within the parameters of your cupboard, refrigerator and freezer. It will be a challenge for a cook like me (so long, Calabrian chiles in oil!), but the upside is realizing that many great meals can come from the right mix of modern, essential ingredients.
Here’s one of my early favorites:
With little effort and minimal knife work, you can get this spicy-sweet fish on the table in less than a half-hour — and it looks as good as it tastes. Salmon is easy to find and keeps well in the freezer; here, a quick mix of hoisin sauce, honey and Sriracha becomes a zippy glaze for tender chunks of the fish. Gauge the spice level of the diners at your table and adjust the amount of hot sauce, accordingly. The sesame seeds add a nutty flavor and dress up the dish nicely.
The recipe uses 7- to 8-inch metal or bamboo skewers; if you have the latter, soak them in water before you begin meal prep. Here’s why you need them: The chunks of fish cook more evenly, and the glaze will be done to a turn on all sides. (We tested the salmon pieces strewn on a pan; trust us!) They look nice on skewers as well, and portions are kind of automatic — which may or may not discourage your dining pals from spearing an extra piece or two.
2to 4 teaspoons Sriracha
1 1⁄2poundsresponsibly farmed or U.S. wild-caught salmon fillets, preferably skinned
2tablespoonsroasted/toasted sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a quarter baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easy cleanup).
Stir together the hoisin, honey and Sriracha (to taste) in a mixing bowl. You can stir in a few teaspoons of the sesame seeds for extra flavor, at this point.
Discard the salmon skin (if it’s attached) by using a sharp knife to gradually cut it away from the fish. Cut the fish into 2-inch chunks or cubes, placing them in the bowl as you work.
Toss gently to coat; let sit while you prep the remaining ingredients.
Peel the oranges, then cut them into large chunks. Trim the scallions, then cut the white and green parts into 1-inch lengths.
Build the skewers by adding the salmon, scallion and orange pieces, in that order, repeating as needed. Arrange on the quarter baking sheet; drizzle any remaining sauce from the bowl over the skewers. Sprinkle a nice coating of sesame seeds evenly over each skewer.
Roast (upper rack) for 8 to 10 minutes, until the fish is done to your liking (you can check it with a fork; the salmon should gently flake). Serve warm.
Calories: 460; Total Fat: 24 g; Saturated Fat: 5 g; Cholesterol: 95 mg; Sodium: 410 mg; Carbohydrates: 23 g; Dietary Fiber: 4 g; Sugars: 16 g; Protein: 37 g.