(Mostly) Make-Ahead | Seared Salmon and Lemon Dill Sauce with Red Rice, Pistachio and Arugula Salad

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Seared salmon is a staple in our home. In fact, it’s the only fish preparation my definitively non-fish loving son will eat without complaint! Once you make it this way, I doubt you’ll ever go back.

I created this dish for the February 2016 issue of Sheridan Road magazine as a make ahead pre-theatre menu. The salad is best at room temperature, so you can serve it immediately or prepare it a day in advance and set it out an hour before serving. The salmon isn’t make ahead, but it cooks in eight minutes max! By the time you set your table, the entire meal is ready.

Red Rice, Pistachio and Arugula Salad

serves 4

Red rice is an anti-oxidant packed un-hulled grain with deliciously nutty flavor and a wonderful, chewy texture. Here I used Lundberg brand’s Burgundy Red. If you can’t find red rice, substitute short grain brown rice.

1 cup uncooked red rice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2/3 cup fresh dill, finely chopped
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup shelled, roasted and salted pistachios, roughly chopped
2 cups arugula

Prepare rice according to package instructions. Spread out on a large baking sheet and allow to cool completely.

Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper together in a small bowl.

Place cooled rice, scallions, dill, and parsley in a large bowl. Pour in oil/lemon mixture and stir thoroughly. Just before serving, add pistachios and arugula to bowl, tossing gently to combine.
Salad may be made and chilled, minus the pistachios and arugula, one day in advance. Bring to room temperature, stir in pistachios and arugula, then serve.

click here for a printable PDF version of this recipe

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Pan Seared Salmon with Lemon Dill Sauce

serves 4

1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, finely minced
zest of a lemon
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped, plus a few small fronds for garnish
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 5-ounce center cut salmon fillets
olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
for the lemon dill sauce:

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Sauce can be made a day in advance.

for the salmon:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place salmon fillets on a tray. Drizzle generously with olive oil and season well on all sides with salt and pepper.

Rub fillets gently until evenly coated with the oil, salt and pepper.

Heat a dry cast iron skillet or heavy-bottomed oven proof skillet over high heat until pan is very hot, 2-3 minutes.

Place salmon fillets skin side up in pan and allow to cook undisturbed for two minutes or until a golden crust has formed. Using caution, turn fillets over then place in preheated oven and cook for 4-5 minutes or until desired doneness is reached.

Before serving, place a dollop of lemon dill sauce on each fillet, garnish with extra fronds if desired, and add remaining sauce to a small bowl for passing at the table.

click here for a printable PDF version of this recipe

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