Flakes of salmon and wilted spinach add body and flavor to this warm couscous salad that's seasoned with mustard and dill. Ready in under 30 minutes, it's perfect for a quick weeknight meal or picnic lunch.
Why this recipe works:
- Cooking the salmon first allows it to rest while the couscous cooks.
- Making the dressing in the serving bowl means one less dish to wash.
- 2 (8-ounce) salmon filets, preferably wild
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
- 6 ounces pearled couscous
- 3 cups homemade vegetable stock or store-bought low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons fresh juice from 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup picked dill, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
- 1 1/2 cups spinach leaves, chopped in half if large, or left whole if baby
Season salmon with salt and pepper. Heat 1/3 cup of oil in a 12-inch stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add salmon, skin-side down, and immediately reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, pressing down gently with a spatula to ensure contact, until the skin is rendered and crisp, about 6 minutes. If skin shows resistance when attempting to lift with a spatula, allow it to continue to cook until it lifts easily.
Flip salmon and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 120°F for medium rare or 130°F for medium, about 1 minute longer. Transfer salmon to a paper towel-lined plate and allow to cool. Once cooled, flake salmon using your hands; discard skin.
Meanwhile, wipe out the skillet. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add shallot and a pinch of salt and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add couscous and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth, stirring to combine, and adjust the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the couscous is tender. Strain any excess liquid.
In a large serving bowl, mix together mustard and lemon juice. Stir in couscous, along with dill and spinach, stirring to fluff the couscous and wilt the spinach. Stir in flaked salmon and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with dill and serve right away.