Grilled Rosemary Salmon with Charred Corn, Bacon, and Feta over Quinoa

P1040301

Everyone has their own definition of “comfort food”.  For me, it is anything eaten out of ONE bowl.  Something about snuggling up with a bowl of warm food and a fork just makes me happy.  I think it stems from childhood memories of giant bowls of chicken & dumplings at my grandparents’ house.  In search of a little comfort, I raided the fridge and pantry for something that would turn my piece of salmon into a bowl of happiness and this is where I ended up.

I started with a piece of organically farmed salmon.  Eating farmed fish is very important.  You MUST find balance in your diet between wild and farmed or the wild stocks will eventually be depleted.  That being said, choose your farmed fish carefully.  Ask your fishmonger questions about the farms.  Make sure it comes from a reputable source.  You might be wondering why I called my salmon “organic”.  The United States does not yet have standards for labeling seafood as “organic”.  There are salmon farms in the UK area that produce salmon which is certified as organic by the European Union.  They do not use animal byproducts, hormones, or antibiotics.  The salmon is raised in ocean pens where the water is pristine.  While I enjoy wild salmon, traditionally farmed salmon, and the organic salmon… the organic salmon is my favorite.  It has great flavor, the quality is consistent, and it stays moist however I prepare it.  It’s a winner.

My salmon has the skin still on it because it is going to be grilled with the skin side down.  The skin is very easily removed after it is cooked.  I gave it a little bath with some freshly chopped rosemary, olive oil, and Italian seasoning and let it rest for a few minutes before my husband grilled it.  (If you are planning to top it the same way I did, shy away from salt.  Feta has tons of salt.)  He put it skin side down directly on the grill over medium heat.

P1040287     P1040288

P1040289

 

Ingredients:

  • Salmon
  • Olive oil, fresh rosemary, and Italian seasoning
  • 1 cobb of fresh corn, charred
  • 2 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled Feta cheese
  • Cooked brown rice or quinoa

While the salmon was cooking, I gathered everything else I wanted to use:  1 cobb of corn (charred by placing it directly on the grill for a few minutes before cooking the salmon), a little crumbled bacon, and crumbled feta.  I combined them all and set them aside while the salmon finished cooking.  Again, the rule of thumb for cooking fish is about ten minutes per inch of thickness  (measure it at its thickest point).

P1040293     P1040298

 

When the salmon came back inside, I nestled it on top of some Quinoa and brown rice.  I added some rosemary to it while it was cooking.

P1040299

 

This was the perfect base for my bowl of deliciousness.  Then, I topped it with the corn, bacon, and feta.

P1040300     P1040301

P1040302

 

The verdict:  it was everything I was looking for!  The rosemary in the quinoa AND on the salmon provided the continuity that I really hoped it would.  It really tied all these different flavors together.  A touch of smokiness from the bacon.  And I really didn’t feel bad about this at all.  Salmon and quinoa are amazingly healthy foods.  Corn… not bad.  Bacon and feta?  A big of an indulgence but in such a small quantity.  It was light, refreshing, and filling.

While the grill was still on, we put a few halved peaches on there to enjoy after dinner.  Just for a few minutes until they were warm, a little bit softened, and charred.  It happens quickly because they have so much natural sugar in them.  We topped them with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce  (a little splash of bourbon in the peach is a nice touch for the adults, too).

P1040291     P1040292

P1040303     P1040305

 

It may be fall, but this dinner really felt like summer.  This meal speaks to both seasons.  Feta and corn reminds me of summer, but rosemary always screams fall to me.  You can definitely enjoy this year-round.

Oven-Roasted Halibut & Salmon

Weeknights are hard for so many of us.  How many people do you know who think they don’t have time to prepare a healthy meal at home on a weeknight?  Probably a lot.  This is one reason I love fish!  There are few things that cook as quickly as fish.  Salmon is one of my favorite types of fish.  Sadly, my husband really doesn’t care for it.  I am always working to find ways to prepare fish that are versatile enough to be used at the SAME TIME on two different types of fish.  If variety is the spice of life, why should anyone have to compromise?

I started with two 8-ounce pieces of fish (and one small one for the kids to share).  I chose Organic Salmon for myself and Halibut for the rest of the family.

P1030066

The first thing I did was chop up some garlic and grate some fresh Parmesan cheese.  My end goal here was to combine these ingredients with mayonnaise.  I happen to be very fond of a certain lemon-flavored mayonnaise so that is what I used here.  You could use any kind of mayonnaise though… just add your own lemon juice.  The sky is the limit here.  You could add fresh herbs, bacon, pancetta, sun-dried tomatoes… anything.

P1030069

After everything is combined, get your fish ready!  It shouldn’t need to be rinsed off but if there are any stray scales on the flesh, go ahead and rinse those away and pat it dry with a paper towel.  Dry fish is easier to spread the topping on.

I like all salmon, but I really find myself always going back to the Organic Salmon.  It is farm-raised in ocean pens in very cold, clean water.  The feed contains no animal byproducts and they are not treated with hormones or antibiotics.  It is certified Organic by the E.U. (European Union) because the U.S.D.A. does not have a program for such labeling just yet.  I just find that the flavor is good, it has a lot of fat, and it stays very moist during cooking.  (While it is true that wild salmon have more of certain antioxidants than farmed salmon, farmed salmon actually have more Omega-3’s… so you can feel great about choosing either one!)

P1030070   P1030072

I like to put my fish in the baking dish or on the baking sheet before proceeding to the next step.  I used a big glass baking dish and lightly sprayed it with Coconut Oil spray and placed the fish in it.  Make sure you leave some breathing room around each piece of fish.  I spread some of the mayonnaise mixture on each piece of fish.  Into the oven it goes.

Next up… the question everyone asks.  How long do you cook fish for?  Try the 10-minute rule.  Measure the fish at its thickest point and cook it for 10 minutes per inch.  One thing you will either love or hate about me… I don’t use timers.  I have to say I don’t measure or time many things in the kitchen.  Measuring is for baking.  Cooking is an art.  Don’t be afraid.  For fish, I can usually tell when it is done by touching it.  Like a cake.  If it springs back at you and is firm to the touch, you’re there.  With practice, you will know when it’s ready.  Err on the side of caution.  You can always put it back in for a minute or two, but overcooked fish can be dry.

I cooked these at 400 degrees for about 7 minutes and turned on the broiler for a minute at the last second.

P1030081

I served this with Saffron Risotto and Caesar Salad.

P1030083

One plate with Salmon.  One plate with Halibut.  Everyone is happy.  This entire meal was prepared in around thirty minutes!

P1030085