Dinner in Minutes

Tart cranberry sauce balances rich salmon

A healthful, fast fall dinner: Salmon with cranberry-mustard sauce and a side of butternut squash and broccoli.
A healthful, fast fall dinner: Salmon with cranberry-mustard sauce and a side of butternut squash and broccoli. cjuste@miamiherald.com

Cranberries, brown sugar, orange juice and mustard make a mouthwatering quick sauce for salmon that’s perfect for this time of year.

Fresh cranberries are at their peak right now. This is a great way to use them.

They freeze well, too. Freeze extra for use throughout the holiday season.

As the sauce ingredients cook, the cranberries will start to pop or open and thicken the sauce.

The tartness of the sauce is a perfect balance for the richness of the fish. Most salmon is sold as fillets, but you can also buy salmon in thick steaks with the bone.

Butternut squash can be difficult to peel and cut. Happily, frozen butternut squash cubes are available in the supermarket. If not, use sweet potatoes instead. Cut them into cubes and cook about five minutes in the microwave.

Helpful hint

If using salmon fillet instead of salmon steaks, cook about eight minutes for a 1-inch-thick fillet. It will continue to cook in its own heat when removed from the skillet.


▪ Prepare ingredients for both recipes.

▪ Make the side dish and set aside.

▪ Make salmon dish.

Wine suggestion

Fred Tasker says: “This is definitely one of those red-wine-with-fish dishes. I’d choose a pinot noir.

Shopping list

To buy: two (6-ounce) salmon steaks, 1/4 pound broccoli florets, one container frozen butternut squash cubes, one small bottle orange juice, one package brown sugar, one jar Dijon mustard and one bag fresh cranberries.

Staples: Butter, olive oil spray, salt and black peppercorns.

Linda Gassenheimer: linda@dinnerinminutes.com, @LGassenheimer

Salmon with Cranberry-Mustard Sauce

Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer.

Olive oil spray

2 (6-ounce) salmon steaks

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup fresh cranberries

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and spray with olive oil spray. Add the salmon steaks and cook 4 minutes. Turn and cook 4 minutes for a 1-inch thick steak. Cook 3 minutes per side for a 3/4-inch steak. Remove to a plate. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour orange juice into skillet and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom. Add the brown sugar, mustard and cranberries. Stir to dissolve sugar and simmer 3 to 4 minutes. The cranberries will burst (pop). Mash them with a spoon and stir to make a thick sauce. Spoon some sauce on a plate and place the cooked salmon on top. Spoon the remaining sauce over the salmon.

Per serving: 310 calories (38 percent from fat), 13.2 g fat (1.8 g saturated, 5 g monounsaturated), 96 mg cholesterol, 34.2 protein, 12.3 g carbohydrates, 0.7 g fiber, 170 mg sodium

Yield: 2 servings

Butternut Squash with Broccoli

Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer.

1/4 pound broccoli florets (about 2 1/2-cups)

1/2 pound frozen butternut squash cubes, (about 2 cups.)

1/2 tablespoon butter

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place broccoli in a bowl and microwave on high 2 minutes. Add frozen butternut squash and microwave 3 minutes. Remove and toss with butter and salt and pepper to taste.

Per serving: 114 calories (26 percent from fat), 3.3 g fat (1.9 g saturated, 0.9 g monounsaturated), 8 mg cholesterol, 4.1 g protein, 21.0 carbohydrates, 2.8 g fiber, 59 mg sodium

Yield: 2 servings