Thursday, March 1, 2012

Pan-Sautéed Salmon with a Fresh Greens and Roasted Vegetable Salad {Topped with Blood Orange Supremes and a Blood Orange-Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing}

Most nights we try to grab dinner in a fairly easy manner... striving to use the freshest ingredients on hand. Michael Pollan's mantra of "eat food, not too much, mostly plants" is kind of the undercurrent of what we strive for. Having said that... a great basket of frites on a weekend night is not turned away!

Salads, or a mix of greens and grains (or beans), tend to drive our weekday meals. The fact that we love most of what gets lined up in the produce department is a good thing. It's fairly easy to run down that aisle and select items that will pair well together. And, if the protein component isn't what it should be... an easy sautéed side of salmon is a great add.

This meal came together with the simple request for a "salad...preferably using kale." I happen to really like kale but also feel that it can be kind of bold when used raw. Adding a medley of roasted veggies is a  great way to balance a mix of greens that tend to be anything but shy. And, a chopped presentation really serves to temper the "personality" of kale, keeping the greens in balance with the rest of the veggies... nothing cut too big or bold to take over! Fresh chopped celery and scallions round out this raw component and lend a great crunch factor.

For the roasted part of this salad, I chose radicchio, red pepper and asparagus... all veggies that mellow beautifully after a quick roast. All the veggies can be set on the same baking sheet, drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper and then pulled in phases... the radicchio and peppers finish up quicker than the asparagus. (Letting the radicchio go too long will result in a very fragile leaf... yummy but quick to disintegrate.)

Blood oranges... so good right now... offer a perfect finish, lending a punch of fresh, sweet citrus flavor. And... these oranges serve as a great base for a vinaigrette that carries the subtly-sweet, fruit-forward flavor through the salad.

Pan-Sautéed Salmon with a Fresh Greens and Roasted Vegetable Salad
{Topped with Blood Orange Supremes and a Blood Orange-Balsamic Vinaigrette}
makes about 6 cups of salad

2 cups chopped curly kale, center rib removed
2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped scallions
6 to 8 spears asparagus
1 cup chopped red pepper
8 to 10 leaves radicchio
5 to 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 blood oranges, cut into supremes (balance of fruit retained for dressing)
2 tablespoons juice from blood oranges
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
salt and pepper, to taste

2 salmon fillets (about 3 to ounces each)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place asparagus spears, chopped red pepper and radicchio leaves on a large baking sheet, drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Roast in oven for about 5 minutes. Remove red peppers and radicchio. Set aside to cool. Return sheet to oven and roast asparagus for another 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Meanwhile, combine kale, romaine, celery and scallions in a large bowl.

Heat about 3 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over high heat. Season salmon with salt and pepper and place skin-side down in pan. Sauté for about 2 to 3 minutes, flip, remove skin and season exposed flesh with additional salt and pepper. (Though you remove the skin it imparts a great deal of flavor during the sauté.)  Cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. Let aside to rest.

In a small bowl, whisk juice from blood oranges (squeezing ends and membranes), balsamic, honey, and olive oil. Taste and adjust to your liking, season with salt and pepper.

Once roasted veggies are cooled, slice asparagus on the diagonal and chop radicchio. Add roasted veggies to fresh greens and toss with some of the vinaigrette; season, to taste. Plate salad, top with orange supremes and side with salmon. Serve immediately.

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