Tag Archives: salmon

Wood Fired Salmon with Arugula Pesto and Tomato Confit

We recycle, bring our own shopping bags to the grocery store, and have replaced our regular light bulbs with energy saving fluorescent light bulbs.  “Organic”, “local”, and “free range” have become more than just buzz words;  people are starting to have a better understand of the importance of  purchasing chemical free produce and meat from farmers who practice  good animal husbandry. Awareness has grown, and our purchasing practices are changing.
But when it comes to fish; how they are caught, and what is left behind when they are taken from the water, do people really have an understanding of what sustainable means?
What does sustainable fish mean to you?
Here’s what Green Peace has to say: “In simple terms, a sustainable fishery is one whose practices can be maintained indefinitely without reducing the targeted species’ ability to maintain its population at healthy levels, and without adversely impacting on other species within the ecosystem – including humans – by removing their food source, accidentally killing them, or damaging their physical environment.”
I think that pretty much sums it up. As responsible humans on this planet, we have to be care takers, and start making decisions that have a positive impact on our planet. When we open our wallets to pay for the food we purchase, whether in a market, or in a restaurant, what we choose to buy affects the way things will continue. If we give our money to those who pole catch albacore, that’s where our fish will come from. If we say we aren’t going to give our money to those who ravish the oceans, maybe those practices will go away. It’s all about the power of our choice, and the effects those decisions have upon our environment.
What can we do to help save our oceans for generations to come?

Make ocean friendly seafood choices when you go to the market or to a restaurant.
So how do you know what kinds of fish to buy, and which fish to avoid?
There are several excellent resources out there:

Fish To Fork The campaigning restaurant guide for people who want to eat fish – sustainably.

Seafood Watch Pocket Guide providing valuable information on best choices, good alternatives, and fish to avoid.

For this month’s 5 Star Foodie challenge, Sustainable Fish I decided to feature  salmon, one of America’s most popular fishes,  for its flavor and its health benefits; rich in omega 3.

When it comes to purchasing salmon, the sustainable choice is to buy wild Alaskan salmon.  It’s caught from a healthy wild stock with sustainable methods, is free of contaminants, and avoids the problems with farmed salmon, which can not only pollute local waters near the farm but also be polluted themselves because of the fish meal they’re fed.

Wild caught salmon tastes incredible all on its own, but  here is  a recipe that gets you out using your grill, and enjoying the subtle hints of smoke from using cedar planks.

This dish makes an excellent entree for entertaining too. The peppery arugula pesto, and slow roasted tomatoes may be made ahead of time, which means you will have more time with your guests!

Happy cooking~









Wood Fired Salmon with Arugula Pesto and Tomato Confit

Tomato Confit

3 pounds large plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise, seeds and membranes removed

4 large fresh thyme sprigs

3 garlic cloves, unpeeled

1/2 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt


Arugula Pesto:

4 cups fresh arugula

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


2 (1 1/2-2  pounds) salmon fillets

2 cedar planks

For tomato confit:

Preheat oven to 300°F. Oil large rimmed baking sheet. Arrange tomatoes on baking sheet. Scatter thyme sprigs and garlic cloves over. Drizzle with 1/2 cup olive oil, then sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake tomatoes 45 minutes. Turn tomatoes over; continue to bake until tomatoes shrink slightly but are still plump and moist, about 1 hour longer. Cool completely. Peel off skins. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using.)


For pesto:

Combine arugula, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Add pine nuts and Parmesan cheese to mixture and blend until incorporated.

Makes 2 cups

For salmon:

Begin soaking cedar planks (fully submerged) in water at least 2 hours before using. Set grill to to medium-high heat. Place salmon on each of the cedar planks. Spoon half of the arugula pesto over each salmon fillet, spreading evenly over fish.

Place the  cedar planks in the center of the hot grate.  Cover the grill and cook until cooked through, around 20 to 30 minutes. The internal temperature should read 135 degrees F.  Cut each salmon fillet into 4 portions. Using a spatula, separate the fish from the skin, lifting onto each plate. Top with tomato confit.

8 servings



Fettucine with Salmon, Roasted Asparagus and Creamy Lemon Vinaigrette

Over the summer, my youngest daughter (who loves to cook ) and  I got into a pretty good  routine of going to the market each day to pick out what we needed for dinner.  Along the way, we would pick up the daily coffee sample that was being poured (yes, my daughter likes the flavor of coffee). There were samples like “Apricot Breeze”,  “Raspberry Bliss”, and “Kona Beach Blend”; all very summery and light.

Well, this week we noticed there was a change at the coffee bar… the summertime flavors had been replaced with “Pumpkin Spice” and “Hazelnut”.   What? It’s still 90+ degrees outside!  Labor Day has not even passed! These are comforting flavors  I like to sip when I’m wearing jeans and a soft cozy sweater. I could not help but wonder what the heck was going on…it’s still summer, right?

But as I looked around the store, I noticed there were other subliminal hints that fall was approaching. Magazine covers offered up pictures of soups and stews. There were displays of candy and Halloween decorations. Summer had ended at the store. My friendly neighborhood retailer was letting me know it was time to move on and change the way I was thinking.

Well, even though I did flip my calendar to September and know fall is right around the corner, it’s still hard to recognize  when you live in an area where chilly temperature are a long way off. It will be a while before jeans and sweaters make it out of my closet, and I am not ready for beef bourguignon or apple pie. So in the meantime, entrees that are light and fresh are still on my mind.

This is a pasta dish I love make with fresh salmon. The fish may be poached ahead of time and made along with the dressing, which makes pulling it all together a snap when you are ready to serve. The dish is served at room temperature, so when the temperatures outside are soaring, you can cool off with an entree that is light on your palate.

Fettucine with Salmon, Roasted Asparagus and Creamy Lemon Vinaigrette

For the poached salmon:
1 1-pound salmon fillet, de-boned with skin left on
2 stalks celery, cut into 2” pieces
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 cup white wine
2 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste

For the creamy lemon vinaigrette:
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic
3 scallions
Juice of ½ lemon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 pound fettucine pasta
Salt for cooking pasta
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 2-inch-thick pieces
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved

Place the asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat well. Bake in a 400 degree oven 15 minutes, until tender. Set aside (may be roasted 4 hours ahead.)
Prepare the poached salmon:
Preheat the oven to 325° F. Place the celery, onions, black peppercorns, white wine and water in the bottom of a baking dish. Lightly salt and pepper the salmon fillet. Place the salmon in the baking dish, skin-side down. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes or until the fish flakes. Immediately remove the salmon from the poaching liquid and cool completely. Remove the skin and flake the fish into small pieces . Set aside.

Prepare the vinaigrette:
Combine all the vinaigrette ingredients into a blender or a container large enough to accommodate an immersion blender. Blend ingredients well. Set aside.

Prepare the fettucine:
Prepare a pot of well-salted water and bring to a boil. Add fettucine and cook until al dente. Drain fettucine and place back into the pot, but keep the pot off the heat. Toss with 4 tablespoons of butter, coating the fettucine completely. Add the salmon and vinaigrette and toss gently to blend.  Top with asparagus and tomatoes.

4 servings


Hoisin Glazed Salmon with Mango Pepper Salsa and Chinese Black Rice

When having people over for a dinner party, I think it’s safe to say most everyone is interested in making an entree that is impressive, but one that won’t involve a crazy amount of time spent frantically working in the kitchen all day to get it all prepared. Am I right?

Today, I have a spring entree that will add some “wow factor” to your guests at the dinner table, and have you saying to yourself “wow, that was easy!”

Begin with the freshest fish you can find; in this case, wild Alaskan King salmon, known for its rich, buttery flavor. It’s delicious all on its own, but with a little dressing up, it becomes something amazing.  I love entrees like this that let the  the fish shine through, with accents that enhance the flavor, rather than overpowering it.

Prepare a simple glaze that will be spooned over the fish just before baking in the oven. Once out of the oven you will top with a fresh mango/pepper salsa. Easy, right?

To create a more dramatic plate, try adding some  Chinese black rice, with its fantastic deep dark color, and hues of purple .

Some also refer to Chinese Black rice  as  Emperor’s rice or Forbidden rice because at one time it was the exclusive rice of the Chinese emperors. It is a medium-grain variety of rice from China that has a covering of black bran. The flavor is nutty, and has a slightly chewy texture, well suited on its own, or with sauteed vegetables such as sweet potatoes an kale. It’s a nice change from brown rice, and definitely adds a lot more interest on the plate. If you can’t find Chinese Black rice in your grocery store, you will find it online.

~Try my Crab Wontons with Plum Sauce to get you started.

~Looking for a salad to go with this entree? Try my Easter Egg Radish Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing.

~For dessert, how about Green Tea Cheesecake with Fresh Berries?

Hoisin Glazed Salmon with Mango Pepper Salsa and Chinese Black Rice


3/4 cup hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 tablespoon chopped garlic

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

8 (6-ounce) pieces salmon fillet


1 mango, chopped fine

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

4-6 plum tomatoes, chopped

1 each: red, yellow, green bell pepper, finely chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

3 green onions (green part only) chopped

1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon Siracha sauce

Chinese Black Rice, cooked according to package directions.

For Glaze: Whisk all ingredients together in a medium bowl.

For Salsa: Combine all ingredients together in a medium bowl.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place salmon, skin-side down, on a foil lined baking sheet. Spoon glaze over salmon. Bake in oven about 20 minutes (internal temperature of salmon should be 135 degrees). Allow salmon to rest 5 mintues, covered with foil.

Using a spatula, lift salmon to separate from the skin and place on each of the dinner plates. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the salsa atop each of the salmon fillets. Serve with Chinese black rice.

8 servings.