I had 7 ounces of salmon sitting in my fridge last night when I got home from work, but I just wasn't in the mood for my typical weekday treatment of this fish: spritz with olive oil and lemon, add salt and pepper, bake until done and eat with rice. It tastes good, don't get me wrong, but I have a kitchen bursting full of produce from the farmers market this week and I wanted something more exciting, something that would showcase some of the mid-summer vegetables that have just begun to appear in the stands and stalls of my favorite produce purveyors.
A quick Internet search revealed that Salmon Salad is a rather popular item and that pairing it with pasta is a classic combination. Most of the recipes I found mix the salmon and pasta with raw vegetables such as celery and onion. My salad takes a slightly different approach. The salmon and the vegetables are all roasted together and then combined with the pasta at the end. Fresh dill, lemon juice, a dash of white wine and capers liven up the rich flavours of the roasted veggies and perfectly complement the salmon. An optional touch of red pepper flakes adds a nice spark to this salad. I ate this hot for dinner last night and cold for lunch today and it was good both ways.
This recipe is a great way to use some of the summer vegetables that may be crowding your kitchen or garden. If you have zucchini, here is the place to use it. I think diced bell peppers would be an excellent addition to the roasting pan as well.
Salmon Salad with Roasted Summer Vegetables
Serves three, about 310 calories per serving or 930 calories total.
7 ounces of salmon fillet, no skin (wild caught is considered most sustainable)
4 ounces of whole wheat fusilli pasta (about 2 cups dry), cooked and drained
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
1 or 2 (or 3!) medium zucchini, about 7 inches long, cut into bite sized chunks
2 small onions, peeled and cut into wedges
6-12 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut into 2-3 pieces (I used 12 cloves, which my boyfriend thought was too much. It seemed fine to me, but let your conscience-and your palate-be your guide)
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (to taste)
2 tablespoons capers
2 tsp olive oil
large grained sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
Optional: 2 tablespoons dry white wine (I used a Savignon Blanc)
Optional: 1 tsp red pepper flakes (I think this is a good addition but if you don't like spiciness at all it can be omitted)
Optional: about 1/2 cup thinly sliced fennel (omit if you don't like its slightly licorice flavour)
1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Prep your garlic and dump it in a large, lightly oiled (1 tsp of the olive oil should do the trick) baking pan. Because the garlic needs a bit more roasting time then the rest of the ingredients, go ahead and put the pan in the oven now while you continue to prepare the rest of the vegetables. Once you have your zucchini, onion and tomatoes (along with optional fennel or perhaps bell pepper) ready for the pan, pull the garlic out of the oven and add the rest of the ingredients, along with half the chopped dill and a few lacy fronds from the fennel bulb, if you are using it.
2. Lay the salmon fillet in the middle of pan with the vegetables, and season the whole shebang with large grained sea salt, fresh ground black pepper and the red pepper flakes, if using. Spritz on another 1/2 to 1 tsp olive oil and stir the vegetables gently to coat them, then pop the whole thing back in the oven and let it bake for about 15 minutes, stirring the vegetables so they cook evenly.
3. Check the salmon when it is done, turn on the broiler and place the pan under it for a couple minutes to lightly brown the vegetables. If you don't have a broiler, this step is not necessary, but it is a nice touch.
4. Turn off the broiler, and place the pan on the stove-top. Add the two tablespoons of white wine, if you are using it, as well as the juice of half a lemon (and some of the zest if you like), the capers, the remaining dill and the whole wheat fusilli. Stir to combine, taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary. Serve warm or cold.