Taste Bud Happiness: Fennel/Dill Salmon Rub, Mashed Potatoes, Parmesan Crusted Zucchini


This meal makes me supremely happy.  Actually, I’m not sure that a meal is worth eating if you can’t say that about it (that is our philosophy in this house and we’re sticking to it!).

How can you go wrong with: Fennel/dill salmon, mashed potatoes, Parmesan crusted zucchini.  I mean… the perfect meal for 2!

This is my go to salmon rub.  I love it so much that I make a triple batch and have it on hand at all times for a quick 5 star meal.

What it consists of (this is just one batch but should do several salmon):

  • 1.5 Tbsp Fennel seeds
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp paprika
  • 3 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp coarse kosher salt (Real salt is great as well!)
  • 3 tsp dried dill weed (sometimes I add extra because I love dill)
  • Olive Oil
  • One 3/4- 1 lb side of salmon with skin (wild is best)

Here is how this goes- mix all dried ingredients for the rub.  This will keep well in a plastic baggie or container for any extra.

Turn on oven to broil.  We use a “custom broil” setting at 500*F

Put salmon on a cookie sheet lined with foil (this makes for super easy clean up).  Drizzle salmon with olive oil (alternately you can spray with olive oil PAM).  Sprinkle the dry rub on the salmon so that there is a thin layer of rub on the salmon.

Put salmon under broiler for 7 minutes on middle rack of oven.  Check after 7 minutes, if an 1″ of thickness or less it will take about 3-4 minutes more under the broiler.  You can flip the salmon over if you would like.  If you have a thicker piece of salmon (2″-3″ of thickness) it will take an additional 4-5 minutes under the broiler.

Serve without skin, this should peel back easily from the salmon using a spatula.


Stinking awesome mashed potatoes:

***Fair warning: I am an eyeball cook, measurements are approximations.  I cook based on look and consistency.

  • 1 large Yukon Gold Potato
  • 2/3 cup half and half (or milk…I use whatever needs to be used in my refrigerator)
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
  • 2 Tbsp butter (optional, this is what brings the awesome!)
  • 1 Tbsp dried chives (fresh can be used if you have them, I rarely do.)

Peel skin from potato.  Cut potato into 1″ pieces.  Put into a pot and cover with water.  When water reaches a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 12 minutes or until tender.

Drain potatoes and add half and half, salt/pepper, Parmesan and butter.  Mash with potato masher/potato ricer/mixer (really whatever you have on hand).  Dish potatoes and sprinkle with dried chives.   This is happiness right there in your mouth.  Might be my favorite food ever.


Parmesan crusted Zucchini

I cheat with this one.  Sure you can cut up your Zucchini, roll in egg and then Panko and fry in oil.  That is WAY too much effort most nights.  This is my cheater version:

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup panko crumbs
  • 3 Tbsp shredded parmesan
  • Salt/pepper to taste

Cut up zucchini.  Depending on my mood, I go for a julienne style or just cut into 1/4″ discs.  Tonight was a sloppy julienne.  Heat olive oil and butter in skillet over medium-high heat.  Saute zucchini until browned (about 3-5 minutes).

Tonight I was SUPER lazy and did not want to dirty another pan…so I just scoot those zucchini over and made them share their pan with the panko.  Using the extra oil in the pan, add panko (remember, this is on the separate side from the zucchini that is pretty well browned).  Brown the bread crumbs over medium heat.  Salt and pepper the zucchini to taste.  When you serve, put zucchini on plate first, sprinkle with toasted panko crumbs and sprinkle Parmesan on top.

This will give you ideal crunchy goodness without all the upfront work.  I find that even when I do this the “right way” my crumbs end up falling off to some extent anyway.

What you can’t see in this picture: the steamed artichoke and the Fleur Pinot Noir Rose (SO fantastic!)

Any time we find an artichoke that is decently priced, we are in.  They are SO easy to make and are seriously delicious. Look for artichoke that have leaves that are tight together.  There shouldn’t be much space between them. I steam my artichoke in the microwave.  It is impossible to mess up and always turns out perfect!  Here is how:

  • Chop off the extra stem so that you just have the bulb of the artichoke (not convinced that is what is called, I may have just made that up!)
  • Put artichoke stem down into a microwave safe bowl and fill bowl 1/4 of the way with water.
  • Top with plastic wrap
  • Microwave on high for 7 minutes.
  • Melt some butter for dipping and enjoy!  Just pull the leaves out, dip in butter and scrape off the white part with your teeth.  Bliss.

If you happen to live in Colorado, your salmon should definitely come from Tony’s Market.  They NEVER disappoint.  Also it is fun to shop there!


FLEUR Pinot Noir Rose from California was a great pairing for this meal.  We are also big fans of AIX Rose.  Both are like sunshine and summer time in a bottle.

This is taste bud happiness.