Greek Salmon Pasta Salad

I like to cook almost as well as anyone you know, but I also enjoy days when dinner is done and in the fridge, ready to go — especially come summer. (Though I’d admit real summer has yet to arrive in Colorado–no complaints.) Instead of turning on the stove, I can crawl up into my comfy reading chair with its humongous hassock, fall into my latest mystery or sleazy novel, and sip something very, very cold indeed. Typically, and you know this, it’s a pot of soup that has me all comfortably cozy-lazy with the latest Ruth Galloway (Elly Griffiths) or Louise Penny’s most recent Gamache thriller. But recently I’ve discovered a nice stash of protein heavy pasta salad will do the trick just as well. I like to bring a mammoth, heavenly pasta salad to a potluck or cookout (a great one-dish side) or on a road trip, but come hot weather, it’s happy at home right in my kitchen fridge just waiting for me to get hungry. With a little extra meat, cheese, beans, or fish, my salad feels perfect for dinner and leftovers are then easy offerings for lunch. Did I mention they’re whole meal deals? Nothing else is needed. Well, wine.

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FRIDAY FISH: Salmon and Vegetables on Two-Cheese Tabasco Grits

This week is the start of my once-a-year FRIDAY FISH series. Since 2015, I’ve each spring been posting six fish or seafood recipes, one for each Friday in Lent, the season of thoughtful observance leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus on Easter. Whether or not you follow any sort of faithful journey, you can still get some new ideas for cooking fish–who doesn’t need those? For grins and giggles — I think some of these meals qualify as fun— and to see what’s happened in other years, click on FRIDAY FISH in the topics cloud or type “Friday Fish” into the search box. To give you a few ideas, I’ve included in this post photos and links for some favorite FRIDAY FISH posts from the last couple of years.

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Salmon with Red Pepper Sauce on Salad

If you’re a longtime More Time reader, you’ll have seen more than your share of caprese salads on the blog. While I’m not as addicted as it might appear, I’ll admit I make several during the warm months and…they are definitely photogenic. I mean. Red. Green. White. The colors are made to go together and not just in the garden or at the table. For instance, how many countries boast flags in those colors? Ok, I checked. Here they are (scroll down a while!). You have to admit, though, that this is actually a salmon salad; it just happens to be nestled into asparagus, greens, and yes, ok … caprese around the edges.

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FRIDAY FISH: Caprese Salmon Burgers

Looking for Easter recipes? Try: Italian-Style Braised Leg of Lamb or Bake a Ham… or Asparagus for Lunch, Asparagus for Dinner or Carrot Cake Cupcakes or How To Make a Quiche out of Anything or Czech Easter Bread.

Come summer and time to cook outside, I stock our freezer with easily and quickly grilled proteins like chicken thighs and legs, bone-in pork chops, and sirloin steak for kebobs. Then all I have to do is talk my husband into firing up the grill, make a salad, and we’re soon ready eat. And while I’m happiest with all kinds of freshly made burgers if it’s a burger night, it’s also nice to have some pre-made frozen ones for those times when desperation is the mother of invention. A resealable bag of salmon burgers is usually at the top of my warm weather grocery list. I even keep whole-wheat skinny buns frozen, too, as they last a few weeks if well-wrapped and thaw in no time at all. What’s cool is you are SUPPOSED to cook these particular salmon burgers frozen–no thawing needed, no thawing allowed. Yes!

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Salmon Cheese Spread – PLUS: How To Get More Salmon in Your Life

Fast, simple app or fun dinner. #justaddrosé

I love salmon and maybe you do, too? Perhaps like me, you still occasionally wonder about what else you could do with it despite your unwavering devotion. You could just want better quality fish or how about a better $$ deal? (More later on that.) There are times I move into the fancy-schmancy or innovative lane — mostly because some uber ripe produce is shooting me dark looks from the counter or it could be I’m dreaming of a company meal even when no company’s in sight. Like lately. I miss friends and family coming for dinner. Most of us do, I guess–even those who don’t like to cook!

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Friday Fish: Instant Pot Salmon and Asparagus Risotto with Lemon


Working on the recipes for an Italian-Style Easter Dinner Class, I knew I wanted to include an INSTANT POT (IP) something for fun, interest, change of pace, and because so many people ask me about IP.  After testing any number of recipes for an upcoming cookbook (not mine), working on translating a few of my own soup recipes to IP, and reading a couple of IP cookbooks, I decided– given the Italian theme and the stellar risotto coming out of the IP– that the recipe had to be risotto. And since it was spring, that meant asparagus. Of course it’s Lent, so fish needed to make an appearance for Friday. It needed a bit of thinking…

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Tinfoil Salmon and Buttered Tomatoes with Thyme on Brown Rice

Food-Fish-Salmon w Butter Tomatp Sauce amd Brpwm Roce

Space available in next two Thursday night classes: Make Pizza at Home/Stellar Salad (5/21) and Kids Cook! Dinner (5.28) classes. For sign up and more info, click on top right corner link:  CURRENT CLASSES.

Back in the saddle again...  We’re just home from a 6-night cruise from Honolulu to Vancouver with no stops.  Just us, the sea, and three meals a day I didn’t shop for, cook, or clean up. In fact, we had breakfast delivered to our room all but one morning–awakening each time to the soft rap on the door indicating our coffee had arrived.  We did little besides walk, sleep, eat, nap, dance, read, listen to music, and admire the view.   There is nothing like doing nothing. After all, rest is one of the ten commandments, right? I’ll admit I was suffering through a wretched cold and the unstinted sleep and total coddling did me nothing but good.


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Salmon on Kale with Lemon and Thyme–One-Pan Dinner


 I’m a firm fan of the frozen salmon that comes in the individual or duo vacuum pack.  It’s delicious, less expensive than fresh, and sometimes fresher than the fish in the seafood case.  I’ve been buying packages  all summer long at a price of about $4 and change per approximately 6 oz. serving.  (This is a quote from my blog, DINNER PLACE– THE SOLO COOK.)

What I didn’t say was that I’ve been shopping at Whole Foods for this fish.  And it. is. lovely. While we’ve been taught to beware of frozen fish, places like Whole Foods (or mail order Alaskan salmon companies) truly have incredible frozen fish.  That information comes straight from one of their fishmongers.

This is a fun one-pan meal.  You cook up some onions, garlic, and kale with lemon and white wine…top with salmon, put a lid on it and call it dinner.

Just for grins, read through this method before cooking. I don’t think you’ll need to refer back every other blink to the “recipe.”

Try it:

salmon on kale with lemon and thyme  serves 2

Heat a 12-inch, deep skillet over medium high heat with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add a chopped large onion and sauté  for about 5 minutes with 1 /8 teaspoon crushed red pepper.  Add 2 cloves minced garlic and cook another minute. Season with a pinch each of kosher salt and pepper and a teaspoon of fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme), chopped.  Stir.

Add 5 ounces chopped kale (2-3 cups) and let cook down, stirring occasionally, 2-3 minutes.  Add 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind, the juice of one lemon, 1/4 cup white wine, and season liberally with kosher salt and pepper.

Add 2 salted and peppered salmon filets (about 6 ounces each) skin down.   Reduce heat to low.   Cover and steam about six minutes or until salmon is just barely firm, but still moist at center.


Spoon greens out onto a plate and top with salmon.  Serve hot or at room temperature.


Wine:  My friends, if you drink wine:  please buy yourself a case of Sineann  (Oregon) Red Table Wine ….  and have them ship it to your house.  Not only do you not need a wine opener (German-style glass topper you  open with your fingers), you have a lovely dinner wine for less money than many of the less expensive Pinot Noirs (not worth buying) in the stores.    Make the plunge.  Order yourself some wine.  Of course, Sineann makes some of my favorite Oregon Pinot Noirs (and a few other things)…at a bit steeper price…and they need a little (not a lot) cellaring.  The red table wine, on the other hand, is imminently drinkable.  Sineann makes a variety of wines that are all nearly perfect, but I must mention they also do a white table wine…I  have a case of that arriving Tuesday.  Winters are long in St. Paul.  Not that I’d know since it’s still seventy something  *$%&## degrees and dry as a bone out in my yard.  I may have wine, but my lilacs are almost dead.

Sing a new song,