Summer Salad with Salmon

Blueberries, corn, peppers, tomato

Summer ingredients are perfect for light salads that are just right for the season’s hot afternoons. Fresh corn and blueberries pair especially well together, lending a slight sweetness and a taste that reminds me of childhood summers in South Georgia. This summer salad builds on this flavor combination and incorporated quinoa and salmon to make the salad a satisfying main course.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint blueberries, rinsed
  • 2 ears fresh corn, husks and silks removed
  • 1 Cubanelle pepper, chopped
  • 3 small, sweet red peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 limes
  • Culantro (cilantro can be used as a substitute)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 lb salmon
  • Olive oil
  • Mixed salad greens
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Cook a cup of quinoa according to the package directions. If buying bulk, add one cup of rinsed quinoa to two cups of water. Bring the water to a boil and turn the heat to low. Let the quinoa simmer for 15 minutes, then drain  any remaining water. Once the quinoa is cooked, set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

While the quinoa cooks and cools, cut the kernels off of the cobs of both ears of corn. Toss the kernels of corn with the blueberries.  Mix in the Cubanelle, sweet red peppers, and tomatoes. Mix in the quinoa and set aside. Season to taste with salt and pepper (about 1/8 teaspoon each).

Blueberries, corn, peppers, tomato
Blueberry, Corn, Quinoa mixture

To make a compound butter for the salmon, mix the butter, juice of half of a lime, and two teaspoons of chopped fresh culantro. Put the butter mixture into the refrigerator to cool.

Culantro-lime compound butter
Culantro-lime compound butter

While the butter mixture refrigerates, make a simple vinaigrette for the salad. In a small bowl, add the juice of the remaining lime and a half , the Dijon mustard, a tablespoon of chopped culantro, salt and pepper (about 1/8 teaspoon each). Whisk in 1/4 cup of olive oil.

When the vinaigrette is ready, set aside and get the compound butter out of the refrigerator. Spread the compound butter evenly over the non-skin side of the salmon. Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the salmon to the skillet, skin side down. Cook the salmon in the skillet for 3 minutes per side. Put a lid on the skillet and finish the salmon in the over for 10 minutes, or until cooked to the desired temperature.

Salmon with compound butter
Salmon with compound butter

Serve the blueberry-corn-quinoa mixture over mixed salad greens and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Top with salmon and serve.

Summer salad with salmon
Summer salad with salmon

Salmon Teriyaki with Asparagus

While at REI in Atlanta, I decided to pick up a copy of the April 2012 edition of Men’s Health magazine. Thumbing though the magazine, I came across the article “Takeout That Delivers,” an article about making fresh, healthy versions of popular take-out food. The recipe for Salmon Teriyaki with Asparagus looked delicious, so I decided to try it.

Stir fry salmon and asparagus
Stir fry salmon and asparagus

This version of Salmon Teriyaki is full of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and Vitamin D from the salmon. The asparagus also adds plenty of Vitamin K and Folate. Serving the dish over brown rice is also a more nutritious alternative than white or fried rice that comes with most take-out.

Men's Health Salmon Teriyaki with Asparagus
Men's Health Salmon Teriyaki with Asparagus

The best part of this dish is the moist, tender morsels of salmon. The asparagus provides a crunch that balances the softness of the fish. The sauce gives the dish a kick of heat from sriracha sauce with a fragrant ginger that comes through without overpowering the rest of the ingredients. This recipe alone is worth the price of the magazine, but the recipes for Thai Red Curry with Beef, Soba Shrimp Pad Thai, and General Tso’s Chicken with Broccoli make this month’s edition of Men’s Health a must buy.

Burger Night!

Although we do not eat much meat at home, one of my favorite foods will always be a thick, juicy cheeseburger. Jill, on the other hand, does not eat any red meat at all (well, maybe she will steal a small bite of bacon from my plate on occasion). Despite the general lack of red meat in our home, I figured it was time to light up the grill and kick off the summer season with some delicious burgers.

While in her office a few weeks ago, my co-worker, Erin, gave Earth Fare’s bison and smoked gouda burgers rave reviews and insisted that I buy some and grill them. So, I did. The burger was made with bright red ground bison meat and shredded smoked gouda cheese. The burger was visibly fresh. For Jill I was hoping for a fresh salmon burger or a fresh turkey burger. Not offering these options at Earth Fare, I settled on some Blue Horizon Wild salmon burgers from the freezer case.

Burgers and veggies on the grill
Burgers and veggies on the grill

To go with the burgers, I grilled one golden zucchini from my garden and an eggplant. I chopped the grilled veggies up, mixed them with a freshly diced tomato, and seasoned them with some herbs de Provence to make a ratatouille-inspired salad. I also made kale chips out of some sesame kale from the Earth Fare deli.

The bison and gouda burger was as delicious as Erin promised it would be. Topped with a little spinach and some ketchup, and served on a ciabatta roll, the burger was better than any burger I’ve has in a very long time. The smoked gouda mixed into the meat really added to the flavor of the burger. I didn’t try the salmon burger, but it looked good and Jill said it was tasty. I cannot think of any better way to welcome in the summer than burgers and vegetables on the grill.

Burgers with ratatouille inspired salad and kale chips
Burgers with ratatouille inspired salad and kale chips

Salmon for Jenna

Since Jill’s sister, Jenna, is visiting us for two weeks, we asked her what she would like to eat for dinner while she is here. Her immediate response: salmon!  For the record, I do actually believe that she meant salmon to be her dinner of choice for each day of her two week stay.

Although it will not likely satiate her salmon cravings for the full two weeks, I planned this dinner for the first night of her visit.  The original menu did not include both asparagus and green beans, but she informed me that she does not like asparagus.

To make the marinade for the salmon, mix together the following ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 water
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Dash of salt and pepper

I had just shy of a pound of salmon, and this marinade was more than enough. If you cook more salmon, you may want to increase the amount each ingredient. I let the salmon marinate for half an hour.

Marinade
The marinade

After marinating the salmon for half an hour, preheat the over to 425 degrees. Place the salmon filets onto a pieces of aluminum foil, spoon some of the marinade over the fish, and fold the foil into a little packages. When the oven is preheated, place the salmon packages on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 12 minutes.

Salmon
Preparing the salmon

While the oven preheats and the salmon cooks, prepare the side dishes.

To make the asparagus with lemony butter and garlic, you will need:

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon

Trim the tough ends of the asparagus.  To do this, take one asparagus spear and bend it gently until it snaps.  Use the point at which is snaps to gauge where to trim the rest of the asparagus.  Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Once the water begins to boil, carefully add the asparagus and cook for 3 minutes. Remove the asparagus and drain off the excess water.

Asparagus
Boiling the asparagus

Melt the butter in a medium pan and add the sliced garlic. Cook the garlic until it starts to brown lightly. Gently stir the lemon juice into the butter and garlic. Add the asparagus and saute for about three minutes or until the asparagus is at the desired softness. I like mine to be a little crisp.

Buttered Asparagus
Asparagus with lemony butter and garlic

If you want both asparagus and green beans, you can begin preparing the green beans while sauteing the asparagus. This simple recipe is made with just the following ingredients:

  • 1 bunch fresh green beans
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, to taste

Add the green beans to the boiling water (you can use the same water that was used to cook the asparagus) and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, again depending on how crunchy you like your vegetables. Once cooked, drain and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Shred some fresh parmesan cheese over the green beans.

Green beans
Green beans

We served the salmon, asparagus, and green beans with a warm Alexia brand (no, they are not sponsoring us) ciabatta roll. Jenna tried a bite of the asparagus, but stuck with the salmon and green beans. Although the recipe was very different from the last time I cooked salmon and the dinner was very good, it probably won’t be long until Jenna petitions for salmon again.

Salmon, asparagus with lemony butter and garlic, and green beans
Salmon, asparagus with lemony butter and garlic, and green beans