Feeding a toddler can sometimes feel like navigating a mine field. My son was, like most babies, extremely curious food-wise from 6 months on. Then he turned one, and just as he started to walk, he started to have opinions about food. That cheese omelet he couldn’t get enough of? Hasn’t had a bite of it for the past 18 months. That quickly seared piece of sweet white fish that was a life-saver on a weeknight? Don’t even think about it. Even tried and true classics can be looked upon with extreme suspicion, depending on the day. Frankly, predicting my son’s cravings can be like forecasting the weather: I’ve long stopped trying and just see what happens on the day.
Feeding my son and training his taste buds can be frustrating, but it’s also one of my priorities. Over time, I’ve realized he’s actually a good eater: he has a good appetite, loves all sorts of foods, eats tons of fresh fruits and vegetables, and will usually at least have a taste of something new. So my weekly menus have evolved to a combination of sure shots and new dishes, so I can enjoy easy wins and challenge him on other nights, too.
This honey sesame salmon and roasted radishes dish came about from my determination of making him eat more fish. He’ll gladly eat it at daycare—of course—but it’s been more difficult to pass it at home. He loves the mellow sweet and salty flavors of Japanese food, so I thought a teriyaki-like glaze might help it go down. This colorful dish comes together in just one pan: serve it with steamed rice and it’s a nutritious and quick weeknight meal.
For grownups, the revelation in this recipe will probably be the radishes: once pungent and hot, radishes become delightfully mellow and tender once roasted. They’re a natural match to Asian flavors, so I took full advantage of that by tossing them into sesame oil and honey, which only amplifies their surprising roasted sweetness. They keep much of their lovely pink color, too—and everybody will love that, even tiny eaters.
In case you’re wondering: My son did eat some of the salmon and the radishes, and he seemed to like it, but of course he binged on the sticky rice more than the fish. I’m hopeful it’ll be the other way around the next time I make it! #wontgiveup
Makes 4 servings.
10 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
30 minTotal Time
Pour all the marinade ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag and shake to combine. Add the salmon fillets, seal the bag, then place in the refrigerator to marinate for 30 minutes to half a day, ideally turning the bag once in a while.
Preheat the oven to 400°F [200°C]. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove the salmon fillets from the marinade and set over the parchment paper, skin side down. Sprinkle the top of the salmon fillets with the sesame seeds. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan and set aside.
Place the prepared radishes in a small bowl, and pour the sesame oil and honey over. Toss the radishes so they are coated all over. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Distribute the radishes all around the salmon fillets. Add the trimmed green onions, if desired. Roast for 18 minutes, or until the salmon flakes easily with a fork and the radishes are crisp tender.
While the salmon and radishes are roasting, bring the marinade to a boil and reduce by half to create a glaze. Strain to remove the zest, if desired. When the salmon is done, brush the salmon fillets with the glaze and serve immediately, along with the radishes, green onions, and some steamed rice.
Recipe Credit: Marie Asselin