Summer lasts a little longer with this salmon recipe

Baked rosemary salmon with smashed turnip and arugula salad. —Jenna Lambert

The shelves of Cronig’s are filled with Halloween candy. My mother is already asking what I’ll be bringing to the table for Thanksgiving this year. I can’t even make it through the first quarter of a Pats game without hearing the old familiar jingle of early-onset Christmas advertising. Despite all of that (and despite the judgment of my coworkers here at The Times), I am still wearing my flip-flops. I am heading straight to the closest private beach I was banned from all summer for a quick plunge after work. While sunny fall days like today make my flip-flops and ocean dips seem (sort of) fitting, it won’t be long until I’ll have to find other ways to hold onto summer.

Lately, my commute to work has required a thermos full of hot coffee, while my commute home may or may not require a pit stop for a cold beer on the harbor. This is the indication that we have reached that short seasonal window where summer fish is still fresh but fall crops are in all their glory. This is also the indication that it’s a good time to give my Baked Rosemary Salmon, with Mashed Turnip and Arugula a try. It’s delicious, fresh, and packed with nutrients. It’s easily executed, and has serious potential for impressing a certain someone, or for just making your friends think you’re fancy.

Luckily, fresh wild salmon hasn’t quite reached the end of its season, meaning we still have access to a delicious and summery flavor at a decent price. I decided to cook with rosemary in an effort to introduce the essence of colder weather onto my palette. Turnip is outstanding this time of year, as its mature specimen is fresh. The peppery flavor of a handful of arugula always pairs well with the saltiness of fish, and cooler climates promote fast growth for this leafy green.

Baked Rosemary Salmon, with Mashed Turnip and Arugula

Serves two

1 medium-size yellow turnip
3 sprigs of rosemary
2 sprigs of thyme
2 cloves of garlic
1 lb. wild salmon
3 Tbsp. olive oil
Black pepper
1 lemon
2-3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Celery salt
2 cups arugula

Preheat the oven to 450º. Bring a medium-size pot of water to a boil. Skin and dice the turnip. Add it to the boiling water and let it cook for about 20-30 minutes or until tender. While the turnip is cooking, remove the leaves from the sprigs of rosemary and thyme, and mince. Mince the garlic cloves and combine them with the herbs. Pat the salmon dry with paper towels and cut into two even fillets. Lightly grease a baking sheet with about ½ tablespoon of olive oil, then place each fillet on the sheet. Sprinkle about two-thirds of the garlic-herb combination over the top of the salmon, and reserve the rest. Add pepper to taste and lightly press the spices into the fish. Squeeze the juice from ½ of the lemon over both fillets. Drizzle ½ tablespoon of olive oil over the fish. Bake on the center rack of your oven for about 12 to 15 minutes. Once the turnip is tender (starts to break apart in the water when pierced with a fork), drain the water. While the pot is still hot, add butter and remaining rosemary/thyme/garlic combination to the pot, and whisk until the butter is melted. Return the turnip to the pot and smash with a fork, while adding pepper, celery salt and paprika to taste. Once the salmon is done (flakes when pierced with fork) remove it from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes. Combine arugula, remaining tablespoons of olive oil, the juice from the other 1/2 of your lemon, and pepper to taste. Plate all the components of your dish to whatever artistic degree you prefer, and enjoy.

Oh, and keep wearing your flip-flops. It isn’t snowing yet.