Broiled Salmon with Mint-Pea Purée over Pea & Cashew Couscous

I meant to post this deliciousness a week ago. Or yesterday, even. Woops. I was feeling a bit anti-computer-ish. I get my fill of screen-viewing at work - and this was my first 5 day week in a while. The weather is nice, and I'm itching to go outside. Getting back on the yoga schedule, too. Plus my husband travels for work all week, so I don't have anyone to immediately impress with my cooking each day - and more importantly - no one to help me clean up from my kitchen experiments.

Excuses, excuses. That's me.

It's probably too late to give you this recipe for a father's day meal idea. Better late than never, though, right? Maybe you'll think about it for next weekend. Or maybe you have a bag of frozen peas, and a whole bunch of overgrown mint plants (like I do) and you can throw it together right now!

That was the inspiration behind this one - my out-of-control mint plant. I made double-use of the peas and mint in both parts of this dish, in order to cut my work in half. I'm kind of on a pesto kick right now, but I'm not fond of it on salmon. So, I blended the peas, onions, mint, olive oil and lemon like a thick pesto to top the salmon. It was flavorful enough to accent the fish, but not so heavy as to hide the delicate salmon flavor.
I used a rich, deep pink fillet of Wild Copper River Sockeye Salmon. I always choose wild salmon, since farm-fed fish are not as high in omega-3's, and just generally live in crowded conditions that don't do them or us much good. The best are usually Alaskan too - considered rather sustainable, as it is not over-fished. But there may not always be so many options, so use any salmon you like, cooked as you like. I broiled mine to keep a bit more concentrated flavor, and a bit dry, but I usually prefer poaching (covered in shallow water) because it's the least stinky method.

Broiled Sockeye Salmon with Mint-Pea Purée over Pea & Cashew Couscous
2 generous servings
approx. 30 minutes total time
Key ingredients: Salmon, dried couscous, peas, 1 small onion, mint leaves, 2 lemons and raw cashews.

2 (6-8oz) fillets of Salmon, preferably wild, and center-cut
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 T olive oil
sea salt & black pepper

Peas & Onions:
1 T olive oil
1-1/4 C frozen peas (or fresh english peas, but pre-cooking is suggested)
¼ C chopped onion

Pea & onion mixture
1 T fresh lemon juice
2T fresh spearmint leaves, chopped
sea salt & black pepper

¾ C water
½ C whole wheat couscous
Pea & onion mixture
¼ C fresh lemon juice
2 T fresh spearmint leaves, chopped
¼ C raw cashews
sea salt & black pepper

1. Heat oven to Broil.

2. For the salmon: cover a sheet-pan with tinfoil and drizzle with olive oil. Place a few lemon slices on the pan as a base for each fillet – this keeps the skin from sticking to the pan and makes it easy to lift the cooked fish with a spatula. Rinse and pat-dry the salmon fillets and place on the pan over the lemon slices. Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and pepper.

Place salmon 2-3” from broiler. Time depends on the type of broiler and thickness of the fish. Anywhere from 5-15 minutes – so watch carefully. When salmon is cooked it will flake easily with a fork at the center.
*I recommend cooking the salmon after everything else is mostly ready, so you can keep an eye on the broiler. Plus, it ensures the fish will be nice and hot to serve.

3. For the peas and onions: in a small saucepan, heat 1 T olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté, covered, for about 3 minutes. Add peas and cook another 3-5 minutes until tender. Remove peas and onions to a bowl to cool for a few minutes.

4. For the couscous: bring ¾ C water to a boil in the saucepan. Add couscous and cook as per package directions (about 2 minutes simmering, and 5 minutes covered away from the heat). Before serving, add half of the pea & onion mixture, ¼ C lemon juice, mint, cashews, salt and pepper. Fluff together.

5. For the purée: place the remaining half of the pea & onion mixture to a small food processor or chopper bowl. Add 1T lemon juice, 2T mint and a pinch of salt & pepper. Puree together, scraping sides occasionally. Add more oil or lemon if desired. Set aside.

7.  Serving: Reheat couscous if needed, and divide it onto the plates. Place salmon fillets over the couscous and top with a generous dollop of pea purée. Garnish with mint leaves.


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