No lie, my first taste of this casserole all I could say was “Oh My God”! It was unreal how good it was. My husband, who is a little less dramatic, said, “This is very good” which is high praise from him.
Over the years we’ve been eating more and more fish and so every once in a while I like to try to shake things up with my fish recipes. Well, I hit the jackpot this time. This is one of my best recipes ever and I don’t even hesitate to say that the non-fish lover in your home will like this as well. It’s a very versatile dish and can be amended in a variety of ways but for now I’ll share what I did and talk more about versatility in lessons learned.
One more note… from time to time I will also focus on making recipes for two. It’s just my husband and I that I cook for now unless we are having a party and sometimes I find if I make too much we either throw stuff out or eat leftovers. And some recipes are more conducive to leftovers than others. These days it is hard to cook for two since grocery stores seem to sell bigger portions. But I found this particular recipe can be adapted in many ways and one of them is the amount you make. So I am writing this recipe for two people but keep in mind you can increase the ingredients proportionally to serve more.
So let’s talk salmon casserole…
(NOTE: All meals pictured in this video can be found in the recipe index on this site)
Lesson learned 1 – Choose your salmon wisely: I’ve found that the salmon filets you buy at the grocery store can vary in thickness. For this recipe you’re going to want to get the thickest piece you can find. Normally what you’ll see is a piece that is about one inch thick at its widest part. Since this cooks for about 35-40 minutes you’re going to want to have a thicker piece so the salmon doesn’t dry out.
Most if not all prepackaged salmon pieces still have the skin on. You’ll need to remove that as well. I cut the salmon into approximately one inch chunks. They turned out perfectly. So keep in mind the thicker the piece the better. But don’t be afraid to also use the thinner part of your salmon filet. Because it is cooked in cream the salmon does retain its moistness.
I only used an 8 ounce salmon filet. Normally that is about enough for both of us. If you want a little more in your casserole, don’t be afraid to add it.
Lesson Learned 2 – Adapting this recipe: I originally wanted to use some spinach in this recipe but didn’t have it on hand and didn’t feel like going to the grocery store to buy some. But I did have some flat leaf parsley and so I used that. If you use spinach just saute it with the onions and only use a couple of handfuls. The spinach should act as the accompaniment to the recipe and shouldn’t overpower it. The same applies to flat leaf parsley. I only used a little more than a tablespoon (and of course I used some for garnish), just enough to enhance the flavor.
I also added butternut squash. The key to using that is to make sure you cut the pieces small, otherwise they won’t cook. I cut mine into about 1/8 inch cubes. But even cutting it that small a couple of pieces turned out a little more al dente than I would have liked but all the rest were perfect.
You can easily add peas to this, or carrots. If you add carrots I suggest you precook them until they start getting soft. You can do that while sauteing the onions. If you want to add cauliflower then I would steam them until they start turning soft. Or you can simply add a frozen vegetable medley and it should cook through during that time period. I prefer adding fresh vegetables but it can work either way.
Lesson Learned 3 – Those tricky potatoes: I don’t know about you but, for me, potatoes are tricky when using them in a casserole, specifically sliced potatoes. I’ve experienced many instances where they were hard and not cooked through. This time they turned out perfectly. This is what I did. I used two medium sized yukon gold potatoes and boiled them with their skins on until I could easily stick a fork in them. Then I put them in a colander and let them cool. It is important to let them cool. If you try to cut them when they’re hot they’ll fall apart. Once they cool you can easily peel and slice them. Can you leave the peel on? Of course you can. My husband prefers them with the peel off. I sliced potatoes into half inch thick rounds and they were delicious. One of the first things my husband said when he took is first bite was, “the potatoes are good”. Success!!
You can boil your potatoes early in the day or even the night before and leave them with the skins on in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them. It doesn’t have to be a big deal or overly time consuming.
Lesson Learned 4 – The seasoning is so important: This recipe doesn’t have a lot of ingredients so the seasoning is very important. Once again this part lends to the adaptability of this recipe. Once you layer the fish and squash make sure you salt and pepper them. Once you add the onions and parsley then sprinkle your fish seasoning on top. You can use any type of seasoning that works well with fish. I used a tuscan garlic seasoning blend that includes onion, garlic, red bell pepper and lemon peel. I use this seasoning a lot when I bake salmon filets so I knew it would work well with the salmon. Just be careful not to overdo the seasoning. About a quarter of a teaspoon should do the trick, at least for the first time you make this dish. You can adjust as you fine tune your dish.
I was so pleased with how this recipe turned out and will definitely make it again. Try it and and let me know what you think.
Salmon Casserole For Two...
2 medium sized yukon gold potatoes, pre-boiled
1 Tbs. garlic infused olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
1 generous Tbs. flat leaf parsley, minced
1 Tbs. flour
1 thick 6-8 ounce salmon filet, cubed
1 cup butternut squash, cubed small
1/4 tsp. tuscan garlic seasoning
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded gruyere
freshly cracked pepper
olive oil cooking spray
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Saute the onions in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add the flat leaf parsley and cook for another minute. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 – 2 minutes. Set the mixture aside.
Slice the potatoes into 1/2 inch rounds. Spray a 1 quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Put a layer of potatoes on the bottom of the dish. Put the salmon and squash on top of the potato layer. Put the onion/parsley mixture on top of the salmon and squash. Season with salt, pepper and tuscan garlic seasoning.
Put another layer of potato rounds on top. Pour the cream over the top of the potatoes. Sprinkle the top with the gruyere cheese.
Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden and bubbly.