baked salmon with Greek salad and garlic butter basmati

August 1, 2008

 

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This is another colorful meal, ready in less than twenty. Salmon is beautiful to bake, and most delicious when prepared simply. This batch is done with a drizzle of olive oil, a nice crusting of chunky sea salt and followed with a squeeze of lemon juice. A chopped salad is a great way to get people who are otherwise veggie-averse to get in at least 3 servings of chlorophyll. Two heads of chopped Romain and endive should be mixed with your favorite raw veggies: mine include bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. You can add whatever you want to this “Greek”salad. I' m not much of a gastronomic anthropologist, so don' t assume that this is authentically Greek. I just assume anything with lots of black olives, pine nuts, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, feta cheese and oregano must be deserving of Demeter' s teeth. This is a fun meal to make with someone who doesn' t know how to cook at all (which is not to say that I' m an expert) as they can busy themselves chopping and arranging. The outcome is gorgeous and delicious.

Salmon:
Coat steaks with olive oil and a generous sprinkling of sea salt.
Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes—or to your liking
(If you have another oven, bake for 7 minutes then broil for a couple to crispify the edges) Garnish with lemon wedges and serve.

Greek Salad:

(I am not offering ingredient amounts—change according to your preference and the number of mouths you have to feed: this is just a blueprint.)

Romain lettuce, chopped
Endive, chopped
Black olives, cured in oil
Full fat feta
Fresh or dried oregano
Chopped Scallions
Capers
Pine nuts
Olive Oil; Lemon; White wine vinegar; Dijon mustard
Red onion
Bell peppers (I like orange, yellow and red for color)
Cucumbers
Tomatoes

Whisk olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and mustard in a small mixing bowl. * Vinaigrettes usually call for about 2:1 ratio of oil to vinegar. I like mine a little less oily, and usually do the reverse. Adding mustard will emulsify, so less oil is OK. If I' m making a salad for 4 people, I might do ¼ c olive oil; ½ c vinegar; 2 tbsp mustard; 2 tbsp lemon juice. Try adding equal amounts of oil and vinegar until you figure out your preference. Whisk well for best results. * Divide your vinaigrette into 2 large mixing bowls. * Chop all veggies into equal-sized pieces add oregano, capers and scallions. * Put veggies into one of the bowls with vinaigrette. Coat thoroughly—best done with your hands. * Put chopped lettuce in the other large mixing bowl and coat thoroughly. * Add veggies to lettuce and toss together. * You can serve this in your mixing bowl or transfer to a nicer dish. Either way, top with olives, cheese and pine nuts. * If you want, you can mix the olives, cheese and nuts ingredients with the veggies before coating—I refrain because the salad looks prettier with them as garnish.

Garlic Butter Basmati Rice

The directions on your rice box must be supplemented with sautéed butter and garlic:
Boil basmati as indicated before you start preparing the rest of the meal.
When rice is finished, mix in two generous tablespoons of butter and a few cloves of chopped sautéed (or roasted) garlic. Let sit covered until meal is ready. Good basmati smells a bit like popcorn.

Wine:

I had a really nice bottle with this meal: Newton Unfiltered Chardonnay.
It is a richer white than some and holds up nicely to the salmon and the spicy mustard vinaigrette. Also, if you' re eating lots of salty, unctuous olives, this dry, rich white is a nice balance. You can by the non-unfiltered Newton, which is less pricey but also tasty. Another favorite of mine is a Bernardus Chardonnay.

Dessert:

Fresh fruit! I like grapes, figs, dried apricots and pear as a combo: sounds Greek to me…
Add some roasted nuts for extra flavor.

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