Salmon over Arugula Pasta Salad
When I first saw this recipe, I had an instant vision in my head of how I would like it to look plated. This doesn’t usually happen when I see a recipe. Photographing our meal is often a poste-haste affair of me snapping photos of the plate in a few tried-and-true poses while my stomach is growling with hunger. This method typically yields mediocre results but I also can’t bear beautiful food to be left unphotographed.
But sometimes my brain has a plan. And for this recipe, that plan began with the loveliest flowering chives. So, armed with a couple of perfect purple puffballs and a few extra hours of sunlight, I shot a dish whose end result was as delicious as it was beautiful.
I hit the Perfect Dish trifecta with this recipe, too. It was delicious, it was filling and it was beyond gorgeous. It was also really, really easy but I wouldn’t have been able to use the word “trifecta” if I included that adjective, so I’ll just tack it on at the end. Plus, “easy” is always relative when it comes to me and cooking. Despite having cooked consistently now for 3+ years, I can still become frazzled in the kitchen. Case in point? This recipe.
It’s true that this recipe is very easy – make a rub for the salmon, broil salmon, then grab the rest of the ingredients and set them aside for assembly. However, I like to complicate things by attempting to do EVERYTHING at once, like boiling the pasta while the salmon is broiling while I also attempt to prep the tomatoes and slice the shallots. But broiling salmon can be tricky because it can easily overcook and I did not spend $6.99/lb (a steal, really) for salmon to overcook it.
So while the pasta was boiling furiously away and while the grape tomatoes, shallots and arugula all sat scattered atop my cutting board, I was yelling for Matthew to please come help me. He came in and decided to tackle a simple dijon mustard vinaigrette while I repeatedly (and perhaps over excitedly) stabbed the salmon with a fork to see if it was ready.
“It’s still raw in the middle!! The pasta is almost done and it’s still raw! What if it burns?! I knew I shouldn’t have broiled it!”
I then proceed to massacre the poor (already dead) fish, smushing it with my fork so that the heat could get access to the raw parts. It looked awful but I shoved it back under the broiler and stood up with a triumphant smile.
“THAT SHOULD DO IT!” I told Matthew, with probably a harried, crazed look in my eye.
At the time he was wondering why I was assaulting the salmon like that but one look at my face told him, correctly, not to say anything just then. Just Kristen being normal! I thanked him later for not questioning my brilliance/insanity. This is how marriage works, people!
So lay aside your fear of broilers – I’ll pretend the story I just told did not heighten anyone’s fear of them (or me) – and scrape together this dish for yourself, your family or your friends. The rub for the salmon should not be left out, either. I found the combination of lemon zest, ground cardamom and and kosher salt to be an incredible pairing with salmon.
Salmon over Arugula Pasta Salad
from Food Republic
For the Salmon
1 1/2 pounds salmon filet
zest of one large lemon
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp kosher salt
For the Pasta Salad
1 lb thin spaghetti
grape tomatoes, halved
1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
2 medium zucchini, halved and sliced
flowering chives (as edible garnish)
Preheat broiler. Place salmon on foil-lined baking sheet and paint each filet with olive oil. Combine lemon zest, ground coriander and kosher salt in a bowl. Rub mixture atop each filet and let salmon sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
Cook pasta according to directions then drain, toss with olive oil and set aside. Place a skillet on medium-high heat then add sliced zucchini and a bit of olive oil. Cook for 5-8 minutes, or until cooked through and slightly browned. Set aside.
Broil salmon 4-5 inches away from broiler and cook for 8-10 minutes, depending on thickness of the filet. Check to make sure it does not overcook! Let cook slightly then remove and discard the skin.
Plate the dish however you deem fit – start with a plate of pasta then add flaked salmon, zucchini, arugula, grape tomatoes, shallot, goat cheese and flowering chives. Toss with a light vinaigrette if you prefer.
Then eat with restraint, because you never know who might be peeking their head over the table in hopes of a bite or two.