Friday, March 4, 2011

Pan Seared Salmon Salad

We've finally settled into a bit of a routine at the new house enough to really cook. Yesterday, JiT requested something "light and maybe with farro," (can you tell he's married to a foodie?). We'd already had beef and chicken this week and since moving to Florida I've really been craving seafood. I decided to check out the small Kosher market a few blocks from our house to see what their fish looked like. Though Kastner's selection was small, I could tell it was packaged in-store and looked quite fresh, so I picked up some gorgeous salmon filets.

I knew I had some other ingredients in the house I wanted to use up (arugula, fresh basil, lemons, baguette and, of course, that farro JiT wanted). So, a salad was born.

I probably don't even need to mention how healthy this is....packed with whole grains from the farro, gorgeous green arugula, and the omega 3 and protein treasure chest. In truth, JiT isn't usually much of a salmon fan so I was concerned he would turn up his nose but he have this a shot and almost licked the bowl clean.

The sharp, bright flavor of arugula, combined with slivers of onion, cucumber and lemon juice, compliment the rich, almost buttery flavor of the salmon. The farro adds a nutty complexity that rounds out the dish and turns it into a hearty meal. For an extra hit of interest, I drizzled the tiniest bit of white truffle oil on the fish before serving and I think it was absolutely key.

The best part -- this was SO simple to prepare! The entire meal was ready in about 30 minutes, making it an ideal weeknight meal, but its also quite elegant and would certainly hold its own when entertaining.

Pan Seared Salmon Salad with Arugula & Farro
Serves 2

2 fresh salmon filets, about 6 ounces each, skin on
juice from half of a lemon
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon each of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

1 cup pearled farro, cooked and drained according to package directions, chill in the refrigerator to room temp or lower (1/2 cup uncooked)
3 cups loosely packed baby arugula (about half of a standard package)
1/2 of a large cucumber, thinly sliced and quartered
1/2 of a small yellow onion, sliced paper thin
4 or 5 leaves of fresh basil, torn to bite size pieces

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon white truffle oil, or to taste
juice from about 1/4 of a lemon

Place salmon filets in a shallow dish and cover with marinade ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate, smaller bowl, combine marinade ingredients and set aside.

In a large, oven-safe, non-stick pan, heat a healthy drizzle (about 2 teaspoons) of canola oil over high heat (I prefer canola for this use since olive oil can burn at high temps). Heat to almost smoking and place salmon filets, flesh side down in the pan. Bring the temperature down to medium. Cook the fish, without moving for 1 to 2 minutes until the flesh has developed a golden brown crust. Carefully flip the fish and continue cooking on the stovetop for another 2 to 3 minutes until skin is crispy. Then move pan to the hot oven and continue cooking for another 3 to 5 minutes or until fish is flaky and evenly cooked through (Since I'm preggers and JiT prefers his salmon cooked all the way through, our cook time is a little longer so be sure to check doneness regularly to ensure you pull your fish the way you like it).

Remove fish from pan and place on a plate, drizzle with additional lemon juice and truffle oil. Meanwhile, toss salad with dressing and season with additional salt & pepper as needed.

To serve, place a portion of the arugula mixture on serving plates and top with salmon. Serve immediately with toasted slices of baguette if desired.


  1. This looks like the perfect balance of light and filling and healthy and satisfying and yes I love that you have a hubby who requests something with farro.


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