Wild Salmon with Quinoa and Lemon Chive Oil
Rich, flavorful salmon from the Pacific coast is fresh in these summer months. Salmon is one of the healthiest foods we can eat, with anti-inflammatory and brain-boosting omega-3 fats, along with a high selenium content which can reduce joint inflammation and protect against cancers. Spinach, lemon and turmeric offer vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, along with a depth of flavor that makes quinoa shine. Fast and filling quinoa is high in protein, healthy fats, and anti-inflammatory compounds. This nourishing dinner will hit the spot after a long day or a good workout!
- 4 wild salmon fillets, about 1-inch thick and 5 ounces each, skin on and pin bones removed
- 2 tablespoons pasture-raised ghee
- 1 ½ cup quinoa, soaked overnight in 2 cups water with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, then rinsed thoroughly and strained (or use sprouted quinoa)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- ¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 2 ¼ cups homemade chicken broth, vegetable stock or filtered water
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup minced chives
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup frozen peas
- 2 cups spinach, finely chopped
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- lemon wedges, for finishing
Preheat the oven to 200°F, adjust the rack to the middle position, and place a baking dish on the rack to warm it.
Pat the fish dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper on all sides. Heat 1 tablespoon of ghee on medium-high heat in a 12-inch cast iron skillet or stainless steel sauté pan. Place the fillets in the skillet, flesh-side down. Do your best not to crowd the pan. Cook until the salmon is lightly browned, about 4 minutes.
Gently remove the fillets from the skillet and transfer to the warmed baking dish, skin-side down. Place in the oven and bake until the fish turns from translucent to opaque, about 10 minutes, or cook more or less depending on level of doneness you prefer. Remove from oven and tent lightly with foil until the rest of the dish is ready.
While the fish is baking, prepare the quinoa. Wipe out the skillet, add one tablespoon ghee and turn the heat on medium-high. Add the quinoa and toast, stirring continuously for a minute or two, until the quinoa turns gives off a nutty aroma. Stir in the garlic, shallot, turmeric, and lemon zest and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
Pour in the stock or water with a pinch of salt, stir well and bring to a boil. Then turn the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the grains are tender, but not mushy.
Meanwhile, make the lemon chive oil by whisking together the olive oil, 2 tablespoons of minced chives, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and tiny pinch of salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
Once the quinoa has finished cooking, remove the pan from heat. Quickly take off the lid and sprinkle the peas and spinach over the quinoa and cover. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Then, gently stir in the remaining two tablespoons of minced chives and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with grated Parmesan.
To serve, drizzle a little chive oil over the salmon and quinoa, and serve with lemon wedges, for extra lemon juice to squeeze over the fish just before eating.
- For a dairy-free dish, replace the ghee with avocado oil and the Parmesan cheese with toasted pinenuts.
- If you'd like more veggie action, serve with sliced tomatoes, roasted asparagus, a side salad or any fresh vegetable that complements the dish.
- You can use garlic chives in place of regular chives.
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