Oven Layering

I recently replaced my nearly two decade old baking sheets. I'm not even sure why it took me so long to do so, but I'm really thrilled that I did and I will be sure to remember this feeling the next time they need replacing so that it doesn't take me so long to get there.

Sure, I made some cookies, but what really made me happy was making one of those spiffy, popular sheet pan dishes where you end up layering all kinds of things together to build a meal that ends up baking in the oven on a single sheet pan. While I also used a skillet for working some texture and ease into the recipe, in a month in which time seems at a premium, this meal comes together in less than an hour and is downright decadent!

I used rainbow trout, but a generous portion or two smaller portions of any substantial fish (think salmon) will do. I used beets and sweet potatoes — again, because I had them - but regular taters, turnips, or most any root vegetable will do. Just make sure you cut them as needed to roast in the time allotted. As for the greens, I used tatsoi and expect most people to opt for bok choy or even spinach because some of these ingredients are more readily available than others. As is often the case with my recipes, feel free to be adventurous and tweak them to suit your tastes and what you have access to at home and markets.

In a month in which it can sometimes feel like there's no time to get everything we need done, there's something downright magical about building up a meal on a sheet pan and then sitting down to what can only be described as an elegant meal knowing there are only a few dishes to clean when it's all done.

Sheet Pan Smoked Honey Trout

  • 1 T. olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb. baby beets or cubed larger beets
  • 1 lb. peeled, cubed sweet potatoes
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt or seasoned salt
  • 1-2 tsp. cooking fat (I used bacon fat)
  • 1 large rainbow trout or salmon fillet, skin on (about a pound)
  • 1-2 tsp. Smoky 4/S Special Seasoned Sea Salt or your favorite seasoning for fish
  • 1 small bunch bok choy or, if you're lucky, tatsoi
  • Splash of white wine or apple cider
  • 2-3 T. smoked honey or regular honey mixed with 1/2 tsp. liquid smoke

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Toss half the olive oil with the beets and the other half of the oil with the sweet potatoes. Place the oiled root vegetables on a large sheet pan so that they are not mixed. Sprinkle with the salt or seasoned salt and roast for 20 minutes in the preheated oven.

While the vegetables are roasting, heat the cooking fat of your choice in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish, skin side down, and allow to sizzle there for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the top of the fish generously with the smoky seasoned salt or other seasoning before carefully flipping the fish over and sautéing another 3 minutes on that side. When the vegetables have roasted for 20 minutes, remove them from the oven, carefully stir them together and form a space in the center of the pan to place the fish there. Place the pan back into the oven and bake for 5 minutes.

While the fish and vegetables bake, toss the bok choy or tatsoi in the skillet you browned the fish in over medium-high heat until crisp-tender. Remove the sheet pan again from the oven and arrange the greens around the roasted root vegetables. Brush the fish gently with the smoked honey and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Serve the meal hot with your favorite chilled beverages.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes