I decided about 3 years ago now to stop eating poultry, beef and pork. Much of my decision was based on how the meat industry works as whole, but another huge factor is my love for animals. I grew up having chickens, pigs, cows, goats and other farm type animals. I knew that each one had personalities of their own not unlike our beloved house pets. And if I’m really being honest with myself, I never really enjoyed eating meat anyway. I didn’t go full vegetarian however, I decided that I would still allow myself to eat fish. This makes it a bit easier when making food at home, since my husband does still eat meat when we go out. Seafood also doesn’t make me feel like garbage after I eat it and I always try to purchase fish that is sustainable. This salmon foil packet recipe is one of my go-tos because it’s easy to make, tastes great and presents as a meal that takes way more effort than it actually does.
Foil packet meals are a great way to make an impressive meal with little effort and very little clean up. You simple put your ingredients into foil then place on a baking sheet also lined with foil. This means that when dinner is over, you’re able to toss the foil into recycling and all you’re left with is the dishes you ate on (and the pot you cook the rice in if you decide to do so). When purchasing your salmon, be sure to look for the sustainable sticker and try and get the kind that does not have color added whenever possible. I find that these packets of fish taste fresher and are of course cleaner since no chemicals are added to enhance the color. Asparagus is a great option in the winter months as it is in season, but you can always substitute your other favorite vegetables later in the year. The winter months are also a great time to make this dish since fresh lemons are usually readily available.
The seasoning I use on this fish was purchased from my local farmers market from a company called The Herban Wild. This particular recipe uses their Herban Provence which contains organic non-GMO ingredients directly from the owners’ home garden. The most surprising and delicious ingredient to this mix in my opinion is the lavender. I had never cooked with lavender before using this spice blend, but I love the way it goes with the fish and provides a fresh but aromatic flavor to the salmon. You can check them and all their products out on their website linked above. I’d also recommend taking a look at their loose leaf teas and lotion bars. If you don’t have this spice mix, I’d recommend using a mixture of thyme, oregano, lavender and marjoram and of course salt and pepper. You could also always forgo this mixture altogether and just use the trusty salt and pepper shakers. Unfortunately, when I made this recipe last night, my lemons (that I got from a neighbor) actually ended up being unripe grapefruits, so I left them out this time which you can also do if you don’t have them available. But I do recommend using them if you can get your hands on them. Other vegetable options I’ve tried are broccoli, green beans and various squashes. Simply adjust your cooking time for whatever you’re substituting. You can always pull the packets out of the oven and give them a quick peek for done-ness.
The wild rice side in this recipe has become one of my new favorite pairings as of late. It’s a tasty and simple side that doesn’t compete too much with the flavors of the salmon or the asparagus. It’s also fairly easy to make (as rice usually is) and gives an even more impressive look when compared to the white or brown rice alternatives. If you don’t have wild rice, you can always use white or brown with a little bit of butter, or you can substitute this side altogether with your favorite side dish. Some others we like in our house are mashed red potatoes, roasted red potatoes (which you can cook on the same baking sheet as the foil packets) or pasta noodles with garlic and butter. Each is a delicious and fairly easy option for this meal. Also, I apologize for the sub-par photos. I only realized the next morning that I had only taken video for my instagram and didn’t really get any appetizing photos (sad face). I’ll include the videos to hopefully shed a better light on this dish. Let’s get into the recipe. (This recipe serves two people.)
Easy Salmon Foil Packets with Wild Rice
2 8oz salmon filets, thawed (skin and bones removed, if applicable)
1-2 lemons, sliced thinly
20 stalks of asparagus, washed and trimmed
Herban Provence spice blend form The Herban Wild
1 cup of wild rice
1 3/4 cup water
2 Tbsp butter
Olive oil, to drizzle on salmon and asparagus before cooking
- Make wild rice according to package directions. Mine requires 1 cup of rice, 1 3/4 cup of water and 1 Tbsp of butter. While rice is cooking, prepare the foil packets. Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and pull two more pieces of foil for packets. I usually pull about an 8″ square piece to make sure they are large enough to fold over the ingredients.
- Lay the prepared asparagus in the foil squares, 10 each, and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Lay prepared salmon filets over the asparagus and drizzle with olive oil. Season with spice blend and salt and pepper. Lay sliced lemons on top, I usually use about 3 slices per packet.
- Fold packets up so that you can pinch the tops of the foil over the top of your ingredients. Seal all edges so the juices won’t leak out and lay on top of your foil lined baking sheet.
- Once oven is preheated, bake salmon for 15-20 minutes, checking for done-ness. You want the fish to be opaque and flaky. If you check the salmon, simply open the packets and check with a fork. If they’re not done, reseal the packets and place in the oven for another 5 minutes or so.
- Once everything is cooked, place a spoonful of rice on a plate and top with 1/2 Tbsp of butter, season with salt and pepper. Lay the asparagus and salmon filets on top of the rice. Sit back and relish in your beautiful masterpiece before eating. This pairs lovely with a crisp, chilled chardonnay.