I like to keep things simple for dinner prep because I don’t always feel like making a large, intricate meal—especially during the week. Depending on the day, I may be developing recipes, interviewing someone for a profile, going to the market to buy ingredients to test recipes, or writing a few thousand words for a cookbook chapter. By dinner time, simplicity is my mission. If I’ve been running around all day, I come home and change clothes, pour myself a glass of wine, put on music I want to cook to, and begin to prepare my supper.
This recipe combines three simple things that I enjoy and turn to again and again when I’m cooking solo: seafood, an assortment of vegetables, and a mini sheet pan
. Fish is a great main ingredient for a solo dinner—it’s inexpensive to buy in single portions, and it cooks quickly. I’ve trained myself to love vegetables and now I genuinely enjoy them—on an aesthetic level I like the color they add to a meal and the different textures they provide.
In this recipe I pair salmon
with three vegetables: brussels sprouts
(because it’s wintertime and they’re everywhere), red bell pepper (for color), and red onions (for flavor and a little crunch). Using hoisin as a base, I made a quick and simple spicy sauce by adding minced ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, lime juice, and olive oil. I get excited making this dinner because it’s easy, full of flavor, and a good balance of sweet, sour, and spicy—depending on how much cayenne pepper you add. Start with a small pinch to start, then add more if you prefer a spicy kick. That’s the great part about cooking for yourself—you can crank up the heat as much as you want!
But the true beauty of the recipe is that it all cooks on one sheet pan and just takes about 20 minutes. So when dinner’s done, there’s just one pan to wash. Then you can get back to unwinding with your favorite tunes and that well-deserved glass of wine.