Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sesame Salmon and Quinoa Salad

This is going to be a fairly quick blog post, because I wasn't planning on blogging the recipe so I didn't take the usual plethora of pictures, but also because it's very simple!

I've been trying to increase the qualities of "cheap" and "healthy" in my meals lately (which can be fairly difficult living in New Orleans and also having a mountain of cookbooks/Internet access), and that drive has led to a little more "what can I work with in my pantry?" than usual.

For this meal, I got a bag of the cheap frozen salmon fillets (probably the most painful price cut of all) and set about slightly modifying a favorite recipe of mine: Quinoa and Pistachio Salad with Moroccan Pesto.

First off, I took out the pistachios. So expensive! (I will now take a moment to google: "How the heck can you grow your own pistachios, because damn the man.)

I also substituted the Moroccan pesto for a jar of basic pesto I had on hand, amped up by the addition of sriracha and honey, an enhancement I started using after making charmoula sauce. Sweet heat! So good. (Results from pistachio search: I would need to grow trees, and I am quite without a backyard. Innovation/scheming will continue later.)

And I added zucchini! For a little more green, I seasoned the zucchini slices with salt, pepper, and cumin and roasted them alongside the red peppers. For the salmon, I patted the fillets dry, rubbed them with oil, and formed an oregano and sesame seed crust on one side. Seared them in my cast-iron, then served!

There you have your pre-paycheck mods for a delicious dinner. Hope you enjoy!

Sesame Salmon and Quinoa Salad
Salmon serves 2. Salad serves 4—6.

2 frozen salmon fillets, thawed and skinned
1/2 tablespoon oregano
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken stock
1 cup water
1 15.5 oz can chickpeas
1/4 cup pesto
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 tablespoon honey
1 large zucchini, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, stem removed, halved and seeded
1/2 tablespoon cumin
Olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400. On a large rimmed baking sheet, coated with cooking spray, spread out zucchini in a single layer in half the pan. Season with cumin, salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil, and toss. Place bell pepper halves in other half of pan, cut side down. Roast in oven for 30 - 40 minutes, turning zucchini over halfway through. Remove when pepper is blackened and zucchini slices are browned. Let pepper cool, then remove skin and chop into 1/2 inch pieces.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa, stock, and water over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. Cook for 10—12 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.
3. Meanwhile, season salmon fillets with salt and pepper on both sides. On top side, sprinkle with oregano and sesame seed picture, pressing sesame seeds into the fillet.
4. Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Once oil is shimmering, add fillets (crust side up). Cook for 4—5 minutes on each side. Remove from skillet and set aside.
5. Mix pesto, sriracha, honey, and chickpeas into quinoa. Serve each plate, topping quinoa mound with zucchini and red peppers. Serve salmon alongside.

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