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Still have openings in my EASY FRENCH 3-COURSE MEAL FOR VALENTINE’S DAY AT HOME:  2-HOUR COOKING CLASS @  SHOUSE APPLIANCE- THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5:  5-7PM.  INTRODUCTORY OFFER 2 FOR 1.  $50.00 for two students–includes food, recipes and ideas for wine pairing. Email me or leave me a message. Can’t wait to cook with you!  (Will repeat class at home 2/14 10a-12p–that class is full.) Ok, now on to that salmon. 

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Friday evenings I nearly always cook an end-of-the-week hooray dinner. Dave has many times traveled all week or just worked very hard squirreling away down in his home office.  I like to put the menu on the board… (below)

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..and I like the menu to be quick or easy or both even though we’re setting the table no matter what the meal. (Below)  I’m often cheffing the next morning and have been prepping for that during the day or at the very least doing the shopping, organizing, and recipe writing.IMG_7194

I rarely repeat a Friday night menu (why when there are so many things to cook in our world?), but I like fish for its fast cooking healthy freshness and because salmon is so available in Colorado and we’re supposed to eat it regularly, it does appear in one guise or another fairly often.

I had two bags of pearl barley that I kept seeing whenever I opened the pantry and so opened the fridge to see what could possibly go with it for a salmon base or side.  While barley’s lovely, it’s a bit like nutty oatmeal for tasting–needs lots of something or other. Onions, diced carrots, shredded kale, spinach, and tomatoes all called out to be stirred into the finished groats along with a nice bit of butter and a good pour of olive oil.  I think you’ll like this; Dave said it was one of the best meals I’d ever made. I don’t know about that, but TRY IT:

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LEMON SALMON ON SAUTÉED VEGETABLES (kale, spinach, carrots, onions, tomatoes) WITH BARLEY

Serves 6   The barley takes 45 minutes to cook, so if you’ll be in a hurry, cook it the day before or in a smaller slow cooker. (You could also try quick-cooking barley, though I can’t vouch for it.)  Then you can sauté the vegetables with the barley while the salmon cooks, using up just 20 sweet minutes — not counting the time it takes to preheat the oven.  

SAUTÉED VEGETABLES WITH BARLEY

  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 3 cups water
  • Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and crushed red pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1/2 cup each:  chopped onion and carrot
  • 6 scallions, minced and divided (3 for the sauté and 3 for garnish at the end)
  • 2 cups shredded kale (mince the stems and use them, too)
  • 2 or more cups fresh spinach
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes

In a medium saucepan, bring barley, water, and a pinch each salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper, and a teaspoon olive oil to a boil.  Reduce to simmer, cover, and cook 45 minutes or until nearly tender. Drain.

In a large, deep skillet or sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil with the butter over medium heat with onion, carrot, and and half the minced scallions; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring regularly, until the vegetables are beginning to soften.  Add cooked, drained barley and season with a bit more salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste.  Stir in kale and add spinach on top.  Cook, stirring, until vegetables are all tender or nearly tender. Add tomatoes and heat through.  A bit of crunch in the carrots or kale is fine.  Taste and season again as necessary.

OPTIONS: ~ A variety of vegetables could be used here as long as they are chopped and cooked (or maybe not?)–try asparagus, fennel, chopped green beans or broccoli or green peas; use your good imagination and use what you have. I do think the greens are a good match for the barley.  Chopped or sliced almonds would also be a good addition. ~ If you’re in a hurry, you might try white rice in place of the barley or the pre-cooked brown rice would work well, too. ~ Summer?  Grill the salmon, of course, and skip heating up the kitchen.

LEMON SALMON IN FOIL

This is one of my favorite ways to cook salmon–quick, simple, and delicious.  What salmon to buy? Read up here. This time of year, I choose a frozen side of wild Alaskan salmon at my regular grocery store–goes for about $11.99 per pound. (Fresh Alaskan wild salmon is in season June-Septmber.)

  • Side of salmon (about 3 pounds) with skin; pin bones removed
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 3 lemons: One sliced thinly for cooking the salmon and two cut into quarters for garnish and reserved.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  On a rimmed half-sheet baking pan, place two pieces of aluminum foil side by side lengthwise covering the pan and draping over the ends by another 6 inches  or more on each side  — long enough to cover and tent the salmon.  Lay salmon at the center of the pan, drizzle or brush with about 3 tablespoons olive oil.  Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Lay lemon slices in the center of the salmon from one end to the other.  Fold the edges of the foil up to tent the salmon and crimp to seal.  Roast about 20 minutes or until salmon is firm, but very moist. If it flakes, it’s overdone.  (It will continue to cook while it rests.)  Let rest five minutes partially covered before slicing and serving.

FDA Fish and Seafood Buying, Storing, Cooking, Serving info here. FDA says fish or seafood should be cooked to 145 degrees F (62.8 C).  If you stop roasting the salmon at 140 degrees F, its temperature will likely rise another 5 or 10 degrees as it rests.

TO SERVE

Divide barley with vegetables among six warm plates, placing tomatoes at edges, and top each with a slice (6 ounces or so) of salmon.  You might have a little extra salmon to offer for seconds to to save for stirring into the next morning’s scrambled eggs or a frittata. (Below)

Garnish with the reserved minced scallions and a wedge of the reserved quartered lemons. A bare drizzle of great olive oil wouldn’t go amiss.

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Below:  Dave took the leftover salmon and made a wonderful frittata for our Sunday lunch. A piece of toast was all we needed with it. Here’s a link to a very old post–-needs updating so badly–that will give you the directions for using leftovers to make a frittata.

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WINE:  Oregon Pinot Noir.  Good friends coming, birthday, anniversary, promotion:  Ken Wright, Bethel Heights, Cristom, Sineann.  Boss on the way: Privé.  Every day:  A to Z or Erath.)

WHAT ELSE: I served an old school avocado and grapefruit salad with this and added just a simple vinaigrette with shallots; I skipped the Dijon.

DESSERT:  Sorbet or sherbet  (orange or pineapple?) and light or small cookies like ginger snaps or shortbread.

If you liked this, you might like my Foil Salmon with Roasted Lemon Broccoli–even quicker.

Sing a new song; cook some fish for someone. (What’s stopping you?)

Alyce