Pat and I are blessed to have two kids that love to read, so we’re always making trips to the library to load them up with new reading material. I used to have to help them look for books that interest them, but now they are old enough that they do their own looking without any assistance, which allows me time to do some browsing myself (Yay!). Recently, during this much anticipated “me time”, I stumbled upon a new-to-me cookbook by Curtis Stone: “What’s for Dinner?: Delicious Recipes for a Busy Life”. Um, did he just read my mind? Busy life? Yes and yes! I checked it out, earmarked pages and cooked a few recipes. This healthy Salmon with Spinach and Tomato Orzo has quickly become a family favorite.
The original recipe calls for pine nuts, but a half cup of those buggers was a little rich for my budget, so I substituted pistachios, and they added the perfect crunch to the salad. Fresh tomato, spinach and basil anchor the orzo, and a simple but tangy red wine vinaigrette brings all of the salad flavors together. Top the orzo salad with a simply grilled piece of salmon and a hint of salty feta, and you have a restaurant-worthy meal that tastefully keeps those healthy eating resolutions intact.
Where do you get most of your family’s favorite recipes? Friends? Cookbooks? Or just wicked good cooking skills?
Author: barely adapted from "What's For Dinner?: Delicious Recipes for a Busy Life" by Curtis Stone
12 ounces dried orzo
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 garlic cloves, minced
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
½ a carton of fresh baby spinach (about 2.5 ounces)
8 ounces of halved grape tomatoes
⅓ cup pistachios (I used roasted and salted nuts)
¼ cup thinly sliced basil
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
4 salmon fillets (4-6 ounces each)
Salt and pepper
To make the Orzo Salad:
Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent orzo from sticking. Set aside.
Meanwhile, add together vinegar, shallots, garlic and ⅓ cup oil in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
In a medium bowl, stir together spinach, tomatoes, pistachios, basil and cooked orzo. Pour vinaigrette over top of orzo salad and stir to coat. Sprinkle with feta cheese.
To make Salmon:
Preheat grill pan over medium high heat. Brush salmon pieces with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook 3 minutes per side or to desired degree of doneness (cooking time will depend on the weight of your fillet).
Evenly divide orzo salad among four bowls. Top with a salmon fillet. Serve immediately.