I love salmon. It has a distinct taste from other fish I’ve ever eaten (apart from eel, but I don’t really count eel as a fish because…it’s eel), and when it’s cooked, it retains a lighter shade of its lovely pink color that cheers you up on sight (pink is a cheerful color after all). And it’s rich in Omega-3 fatty acids! I don’t know exactly what Omega-3 fatty acids do for you (but you can look here), but I know they’re good for you and I just wanted to use the term here because I think the term “Omega-3 fatty acids” is fun to say. Like the word “conundrum.” Anyway, I love salmon so much that this is my second post featuring a dish made with it!
Sitting in my office at the end of the day, I was pondering dinner. And for some reason, I really had a strong craving for salmon. I thought about the herb-crusted salmon that I made previously, but I wanted to do something different. I did, however, remember the wilted spinach salad that I made to go with that first salmon recipe, and I remembered how I loved the vinaigrette dressing that I made for wilting the salad (it’s basically the balsamic vinegar plus olive oil, plus the red onions, plus the sugar and salt and black pepper to taste). So I decided to use the dressing as a “sauce” in which to bake the salmon fillet that I purchased from the grocery store on my way home from work.
Before making the dressing, I rubbed half a lemon’s worth of juice and a little bit of salt onto the salmon and let it sit in the fridge for about half an hour.
Since I was making the dressing for the salmon, I didn’t really use the proportions in the original recipe of the salad (I was going to be coating a salmon fillet, not tossing the dressing with spinach leaves). I just sort of eyeballed everything. I sliced the onion into thin strips, cooked them in some olive oil, and when somewhat wilted, I put in some balsamic vinaigrette, added some sugar and salt (and a bit of black pepper), adjusted the flavors to my liking and set it aside.
While I waited for the salmon to marinate for the 30 minutes, I did the prep work for the couscous I was going to have with it. Slicing olives and chopping herbs can be quite therapeutic if approached with the right attitude of focusing on the singular task, as opposed to having one’s mind wander to everything else that needs to be done…
When the salmon was ready, I poured the dressing over it and added a few fresh slices of red onion, cut into strips for that ribbon effect.
I baked it in the oven, covered with foil, for 35 minutes at 350 °F, and while I waited, I prepared the couscous…
I had some whole wheat couscous that had been waiting to be used for some time now, and after preparing it according to package instructions, I tossed it with the aforementioned black olives, dill, parsley and some olive oil. I also sprinkled a little bit of dried rosemary for the aroma. Oh, I and added some lemon juice to the chicken broth I cooked the couscous in.
Once the salmon was done, I made a little bed for it on my plate and lovingly placed a slice of the fillet on it.
The salmon was very, very tender and juicy and it was infused with just the right amount of vinaigrette. I was a bit afraid that it would be overpowering, but not at all. The couscous was nutty with a little bit of the dill’s fresh and slightly tangy taste and the olives gave it enough saltiness.
Salmon is a very versatile fish — and I beg to differ with Bubba from Forrest Gump — shrimp is not the only fruit of the sea. You got poached salmon, seared salmon, baked salmon, broiled salmon, salmon sushi roll, salmon burgers, smoked salmon…and best of all, it’s easily identifiable because of its pink color. I love that about a fish, when you can identify it just by looking at it, unlike many fish varieties that all turn white when cooked so you can’t really tell what fish you’re eating unless your palate is as sophisticated as those of the Top Chef judges. And…say it with me now — it’s rich in Omega-3 fatty acids! I know, I said it already. I just like saying it. 🙂