Who doesn’t love a good Sheet Pan Dinner? It’s the one-pan meal you might even get away with not cleaning up after, as long as you park that empty baking sheet in the oven till morning. (Raises hand: Guilty.) Well, maybe you don’t always love an SPD, if your efforts to combo-cook protein, carb and vegetable fall short now and then. And by that I mean potatoes that are underdone, meat that is unevenly done and greens whose moisture has left the building.
Doneness has to do with timing, of course, and SPD experts will point out that cooking those food groups in stages is key. Same single pan, but give some ingredients more time in the oven.
Here are the three top reasons to love this particular Sheet Pan Dinner: minimal prep and cleanup (see above); the sweet-and-spicy rub for the fish; the potatoes will be cooked through by the time the fish is done. And a close fourth reason: The spring onions, or scallions, roast to a melting tenderness. A final spritz of lime juice is your citrus “sauce” that ties it all together.
TIP: Sometimes, a center-cut piece of salmon will have an inch or two of thin belly on one side. For even cooking, we like to tuck that flap under the fillet, or cut it and save it for a very deserving cat.
Brown Sugar and Chili-Rubbed Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner
- 1 pound small Yukon Gold potatoes
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 12 ounces young/thin spring onions or fat scallions
- 1 lime
- Four 6-ounce skin-on salmon fillets, center-cut
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Rinse the potatoes; if they are 2 inches or more across, cut them in half. Place them on the baking sheet; drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season lightly with salt. Toss to coat, then spread out evenly, with cut sides facing down. Roast (upper rack) for 10 minutes; they will not be cooked through.
Meanwhile, trim and discard the root ends of the spring onions or scallions, then peel and discard any thin outer layers. Drizzle with another tablespoon of the oil and toss lightly to coat. Zest the lime, then cut it in half.
Take the baking sheet out of the oven. Push the potatoes to one side, to clear room for the salmon. Add the spring onions or scallions to the pan, either around the edges or in a separate cleared space. Season them lightly with salt. Sprinkle them with the lime zest.
Use a fork to stir together the brown sugar, chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Brush the tops of each salmon fillet with the remaining tablespoon of oil, then rub the brown sugar mixture evenly over each one.
Return the pan to the oven; roast (upper rack) for about 12 minutes; there will still be some slightly translucent flesh at the center of the fish, or you can keep roasting the salmon until it is done to your liking. The onions or scallions and potatoes should be cooked through.
Squeeze the lime’s juice over everything in the pan. Serve hot.
Adapted from “Oven to Table: Over 100 One-Pot and One-Pan Recipes for Your Sheet Pan, Skillet, Dutch Oven and More,” by Jan Scott (Penguin/Random House, 2019).