Salmon is like a super food.  It’s high in omega- 3 fatty acids, which aid in cardiovascular health and reduce the chance of high blood pressure.  That’s great news for all of us.  In addition to being good for you, salmon is readily available at the market, quick to cook, and can take on a variety of flavors beautifully.  It tends to be a little more expensive than white fish, but the health benefits and tastiness overwhelmingly support my purchase every time.

On the menu: pan seared salmon with mustard thyme vinaigrette and whole wheat couscous with roasted asparagus and scallions.  Mmmm.  This dinner was on the table so quickly, my head was spinning. 

First, I had to pull a few little pin bones out of the salmon.  They actually came out without much fuss, even though I don’t have the specialty tweezers  made for that task.  I cut my onions, garlic, and scallions for the couscous and started boiling broth. 

Next, I placed my asparagus in a single layer on a sheet pan.  I chose a medium asparagus rather than the skinny kind for this dish, because I wanted to be able to impart the deep flavor of roasting while maintaining the integrity of the vegetable.  I just lightly drizzled the spears with EVOO and seasoned them with salt and pepper before popping them into a hot oven. 

In a medium sized pot, I sauteed onion and garlic before adding the couscous.  This particular couscous was larger than the traditional kind, but not quite as big as Israeli couscous.  I had never seen this Canadian toasted whole wheat couscous at the Farmer’s Market, so I decided to give it a whirl.  When I smelled the aroma of garlic, I knew it was time to add the couscous to the pot. 

After a few minutes, I poured my boiling broth into the pot and let it cook for about eight or nine minutes, until the couscous was soft, but not mushy. 

Everything was starting to come together rapidly.  While I heated the pan for the salmon, I whisked together the ingredients for the mustard thyme vinaigrette.  The inspiration for this light sauce came from our first married dinner out at Floataway Cafe.  It is a rarity for Adam and I to dine at a lovely, fancy restaurant, but we were celebrating our marriage and treating ourselves with some much-appreciated wedding money.  I shocked myself by not ordering my typical steak or pork extravaganza that night.  The local Georgia rainbow trout on the menu that was served with an amazing mustard vinaigrette totally captured my interest.  I was so impressed by the lightness and perfect balance of flavor in that dish that it’s been bouncing around in my head for weeks now.  So, I had to make it happen.  My version was simple and light, and remotely reminiscent of Floataway’s brilliance.  

I chopped the roasted asparagus and finished the couscous while the fish spent a few minutes on the stove top. 

Literally, it’s taken me longer to write this blog than it did to cook this dinner.  Time to show you the final product…

Mmmm.  We got a good scald on the salmon (as we say here in the South).  It was well seasoned, had a nice seared outside, and the inside was soft, tender, and succulent.  Medium rare salmon doesn’t even taste fishy at all, which was shocking to this former non-seafood eater.  The mustard vinaigrette was not overpowering but kept me coming back for more.  The couscous was layered with fresh flavors and I felt good eating it.   

Plan to Plate strikes again!  My clients can rest at ease knowing that I am doing the legwork, the experimentation, finding inspiration all over the place.  That affords me the ability to offer high quality dishes, which are full of flavor AND good for the body.  Even for those who have been too timid to cook fish at home, the result of a beautiful piece of salmon and a whopping six minutes on the stove brings a smile to the face and the belly. 

Treat your body to a healthy and satisfying salmon dinner.  Take inspiration from your daily life.  Make it fresh, and make it your own.  Enjoy!

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