Salmon seems to be one of those fishes that people either love or hate. Well, salmon lovers, or even haters, this recipe is easy and healthy, so you can get your fill of omega-3 fatty acids, protein and some greens all in one fell swoop.
Searing the salmon gives it a crispy skin and then finishing it on top of the quinoa helps avoid overcooking the fish, which unfortunately happens all too often. I'm partial to Bulgarian feta, which tends to be brinier and creamier than other types of feta, but go with your preference or what's available in a supermarket by you.
I learned this nine-minute, quinoa-cooking method from chef Katie Carey while she worked at Haven's Kitchen, a cooking school in lower Manhattan, who learned it from Plenty, one of Yotam Ottolenghi's cookbooks. It has "totally changed the way I think about cooking quinoa," she said, and I'd definitely have to agree. Simply cook the quinoa in boiling, well-salted water for exactly nine minutes. The result? Perfectly cooked quinoa every time. Seriously.
Another option is to toast the quinoa in the dry skillet before cooking to salmon to give extra flavor. You could also try other meaty seafood like swordfish or scallops with the quinoa if salmon isn't for you.
- 4 (6-oz) skin-on salmon filets
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ½ tablespoons canola, vegetable, or light olive oil
- 2 cups water or homemade or store-bought low sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup pre-washed or rinsed quinoa
- 1 ½ cups baby arugula
- 2 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed juice from 1 lemon
- 1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Heat the canola oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the salmon skin-side down and cook without moving until skin is crisp, 2-3 minutes. Carefully remove salmon with a thin metal fish spatula and set on a large plate skin-side-up.
In the same skillet, bring 2 cups of water to an active boil and generously season with salt. Add the quinoa and allow to cook for exactly 9 minutes.
Lower the heat to medium-low, stir in the arugula, scallion, feta and place the salmon back on top, skin-side up, cover and cook until the salmon is barely cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Portion out the quinoa and salmon and drizzle with fresh lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil. Serve immediately.