Friday, June 3, 2011

Salad Days of Summer: Salmon, Arugula and Couscous Salad

This summer salad was inspired by one I enjoyed last weekend at Il Fornaio. I'm pleased to report we are now considered part of the Il Fornaio family, due to our frequent visits to the bar and patio, photo shoots, and blog press featuring some of the special menus and events. Now, if I can just finagle suggest a trip to Italy for all our hard work...

Anyhoo, I ordered the salad with seared sushi-grade ahi tuna, couscous, arugula, tomato, raisins, capers, lemon and extra-virgin olive oil, but they were out of tuna. I was able to substitute grilled salmon, and I absolutely loved this salad. So much, that I nixed the French Fridays with Dorie recipe this week (warm weather vegetable pot au feu) and recreated my new, favorite salad at home.

After a quick stop at our local Boney's market, where I found Loch Duart Scottish Salmon and a few other fresh ingredients, I headed home and whipped this up in no time.

Salmon, Arugula and Couscous Salad
Serves 2

3/4-pound piece fresh salmon fillet, cut from the thick center portion, skinned, at room temperature
1 tablespoon olive oil for the fish and about a tablespoon for the pan
Juice from half a lemon

1 cup uncooked couscous
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil

5 ounces baby arugula
1/2 cup sweet grape tomatoes
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic, red wine, or sherry vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper

Rub the salmon with about a tablespoon of olive oil, and season both sides with salt and freshly ground pepper. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over high heat. When it's hot, add the salmon, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, then carefully turn over and cook for another 3 minutes. Transfer the salmon to a plate, squeeze a little lemon juice over the top, and cover loosely with foil.

In the meantime, bring 1 cup water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon butter to a boil in a small saucepan. Add couscous, stir quickly, cover, and take off the heat. Allow to rest for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, and minced shallot. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.

Put arugula in a large bowl. Drizzle about half the vinaigrette down the sides of the bowl and gently toss the arugula to coat. Add more vinaigrette, if needed. Add about 2 cups of the warm couscous and toss so the arugula gets slightly wilted. Add tomatoes, raisins, and capers, and toss again to combine.

Divide salad between two plates. Cut salmon in half and place a piece top of each salad.

Have a wonderful weekend ;-)



Anonymous said...

That is just an amazing looking salmon salad. I want that for dinner now!

Pachecopatty said...

Gorgeous looking salad with that perfectly cooked piece of salmon, this is my kind of salad with the arugula and couscous. Next week ribs are on the menu for FFWD, I promised my husband I would make them because he's been so good and eaten all the poached eggs over salads and soups the past few weeks;-)

Adriana said...

I don't blame you for ditching the pot-au-feu; this salad looks fantastic and I get the rush of making a dish you like as soon as you possibly can. Give the soup a try, though, 'cause it's a good one. I'm laughing at Patty's comment - we've sure had our share of eggs the last couple of weeks at FFwD!

Kim said...

Beautiful and weather appropriate. I concur that a trip to Italy is in order!

We're trying to eat better... it's HARD. But gorgeous salads help.

Cheers! It's almost summer!