Asian Pesto Salmon And Warm Orzo Salad
A Southeast Asian-style pesto made with Thai basil, mint, cilantro and fresh ginger makes a great flavoring for oven-roasted salmon and an accompanying warm salad of orzo, fresh tomatoes and baby spinach.
- 1/2 lb salmon fillet, skin removed, cut into two portions
- 4 oz orzo
- 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 scallions, sliced
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, washed and halved
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 lb baby spinach, washed and dried thoroughly
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup Asian Pesto (recipe follows)
- Salt and pepper
Cook the orzo according to package directions, drain and toss with 3/4 cup of the Asian Pesto and set aside. Cover to keep warm if desired.
Preheat the oven to 425°. Place the salmon on a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with non-stick coating to prevent sticking. Lightly season the fish with salt and pepper and squeeze on a little lemon juice. Separate 1/4 cup of the Asian Pesto for use on the raw fish. Spread 1 tablespoon of the sauce over each fillet. Turn the fish over and repeat the process.
Place the salmon in the preheated oven and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes or until the salmon begins to caramelize slightly on top. Remove from oven, turn fillets over and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes longer, or until the fish is opaque in the center.
While the salmon cooks, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced shallots and cook until translucent.
Add the grape tomatoes, season lightly with salt and pepper and cook until they just begin to soften and release a bit of juice.
Add the baby spinach to the pan, tossing with the tomatoes until just wilted. Add in the sliced scallions, remove the mixture from the heat and gently mix it into the pesto-dressed orzo, being careful not to break up the tomatoes.
Place a serving of the orzo on each of two plates and arrange one portion of the salmon on top.
Serves 2 (with possible leftovers)
- Asian Pesto
- 2 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
- 1/2 cup fresh Thai basil leaves, loosely packed
- 3/4 cup fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, loosely packed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. If necessary, add a little extra oil to adjust the consistency. Store, tightly covered in the refrigerator.
Recipes adapted from "Simply Ming" by Ming Tsai