Crispy seared salmon with a light, tangy farro orzo salad is perfect for any season.
Our CSA is bountiful this year. We are getting lots and lots of squash, zucchini and kale. Good thing we like them, a lot. Sometimes you have to be creative in how you prepare them lest the large quantities of the same vegetables become monotonous. This salad was one of those creative attempts, and if I do say so myself, it turned out pretty good.
- 2 wild caught salmon filets (fresh as you can get)
- 1 package Farro Orzo pasta
- 2 medium squash, cubed in ¼ pieces
- 1 large zucchini, cubed in ¼ pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, cubed in ¼ pieces
- 1 small punch of dinosaur kale, julienne
- ½ small red onion, sliced in very thin strips
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
- 1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Feta cheese, crumbled
- Salt and pepper
- Oil blend, (I like canola and olive 50/50)
- Start by preparing the orzo per the instruction on the package. Allow to cool and set aside.
- In a small bowl, add the thinly sliced onion and the red wine vinegar. I find letting the onion soak in the vinegar takes the edge off the raw onion. You can skip this if you like.
- Turn your oven’s broiler on. Toss the squash, zucchini, bell pepper and kale with olive oil, salt and pepper together on a sheet pan. Place under the broiler. Cook until you get a little color on the veg. You do not want these to be mushy or burned.
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Add just enough of the blended oil to coat the pan. When the pan is good and hot, place the salmon in the pan, skin side down. Cook about 2-3 minutes and flip cook until skin is crispy and the fish is cooked to your liking.
- In a large bowl, combine the orzo, vegetables, dill, thyme, vinegar, feta, olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Another example of “on hand” ingredients thrown together to a great result. The chicken is good. I’ve made it a ton. The salad, well I thought I had totally made it up until I started Googling it on the interwebs. It turned out to be a pretty common Tuscan thing, so there you have it.
The salad was delicious. I think for a light spring or summer meal it is the perfect side. It has the healthy starch of the farro and all the veg. The olives and vinegar seasoned it well. Then the creamy fresh mozzarella along with the olive oil seemed to hold it all together. I will add this to the “make again” category, even if it wasn’t as original as I thought.
One other note, whole chickens are super cheap even if they’ve been pre-cut into parts.
- 1 whole Chicken cut into pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
- Juice of 1-2 lemons, plus zest
- Chicken stock
- Fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- Olives, halved
- Red wine vinegar
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Add the chicken, garlic, rosemary, oregano, salt and pepper and lemon juice into a large (or several) zip top bags. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for as long as you can.
- In the meantime, cook farro per instruction it came with. Some require the farro to “bloom” in water overnight. You can usually skip that but I would recommend letting it sit in water for at least a few hours. I also usually replace ½ to 1/3 of the water with unsalted chicken stock. When the farro is done, set aside and let cool.
- Assemble farro, mozzarella, onion, olives and arugula in a large bowl. Toss with olive oil and red wine vinegar to taste. Season if necessary with salt and pepper. This salad can be server warm or room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 425 F. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add enough oil to coat. Add chicken pieces but don’t over crowd. Do several batches if necessary. Sear the chicken until the skin is golden brown and much of the fat has been rendered out. Remove some of the fat (or heck, leave it all in). Add all the seared chicken back into the skillet and pour maybe a half a cup of chicken stock into the bottom of the skillet. Place in the oven until chicken is cooked to appropriate temperature. Keep warm.
- To plate, heap salad on and stack your favorite type of chicken on top. Yum!