Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pan-Roasted Salmon with Citrus-Balsamic Vinaigrette and Sautéed Broccolini with Orange-Panko Crust

I'm going to come right out and say it.  I hate Valentine's Day.  There.  I said it.  When you're single, you don't have a special someone to take you out or make you a fancy dinner.  Valentine's Day is just like any other day.  I'm okay with that.  I'm very independent, and don't mind taking care of myself, on Valentine's Day or any other day.  Lucky for me, I'm a good cook, and can make myself a nice dinner, no man required :)  This Valentine's Day, I scaled down this salmon recipe, and cooked myself a beautiful Sockeye salmon fillet with some sautéed broccolini, including some bright and seasonal oranges into both dishes.  The original recipe says to use skinless fillets of salmon, but I left the skin on mine.  Pan-roasting fish in this manner yields an incredibly crispy skin, so I don't see the need to remove it (as long as it's been scaled first) unless you prefer to based on your personal preference.  The vinaigrette boasts a strong sweet orange flavor, which is a great substitute to the traditional lemon often used for fish.  I only had fresh parsley on hand, so I replaced the fresh basil and mint with parsley when I made it, but you can use all three or just use what you have available.  It will taste great either way.

I loved the addition of bright green, crisp broccolini to my redder than red salmon.  Toasting up some panko crumbs in a separate skillet and then topping the vegetables adds a great (but messy) textural element and allows you better control to ensure that both components are cooked correctly and then married together.  Even when plated with the salmon, and some of the vinaigrette absorbed into the panko, it was crispy enough that it still maintained it's texture while becoming even more flavorful with the extra hit of citrus.  Overall, this was a very fast and easy dish to put together, showcasing bright colors, flavors, and textures, much like the wonderful Phyllo-Wrapped Salmon recipe I shared last week.  Both of these are great, simple, and yet impressive salmon recipes from two wonderful cookbooks.

Sockeye salmon fillet... love the deep red color!

Pan-Roasted Salmon with Citrus-Balsamic Vinaigrette
Serves 4
(Slightly Adapted from The Union Square Cafe Cookbook)

3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 anchovy fillet, very finely minced (optional)
2 T. finely minced onion
2 tsp. each chopped parsley, basil, and mint
2 T. finely minced orange zest
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

4 (6-oz) fillets of salmon, skin on or off
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 T. olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a glass jar, cover tightly, and shake vigorously. Reserve.

Season the salmon with salt and pepper to taste. In an oven-proof skillet large enough to hold all the salmon, heat the olive oil over high heat. Place the salmon in the pan with its skin side down. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 8 to 10 minutes, until medium-rare, or longer if desired. Transfer the cooked salmon to a serving platter and keep warm while finishing the sauce.

Wipe out any remaining olive oil in the skillet and add the sauce. Heat through for a few seconds over high heat, spoon the sauce over the salmon, and serve.

Sautéed Broccolini with Orange-Panko Crust
Serves 2

8 oz. broccolini or baby broccoli, trimmed
Kosher salt
2 T. olive oil
1 T. grated orange zest
1/2 T. finely minced onion
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Salt the water and add the broccolini. Blanch for about 2 minutes until tender, but still firm and bright green (do not overcook). Drain the broccolini and immediately immerse in a bowl of ice water to shock the cooking, and retain it's bright green color. When cool, drain broccolini again, and set aside.

In a small skillet, heat 1 T. olive oil over medium heat. Add the orange zest and onion, and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes to infuse the flavors into the oil and slightly soften the onion, but do not overcook or the zest will begin to burn. Immediately add the panko to the pan, and sauté for another 2 minutes until the panko turns golden brown. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, add the remaining 1 T. olive oil. Add the blanched broccolini, season with salt and pepper, and sauté for about 4 to 5 minutes until the broccolini is heated through and is starting to lightly brown on some sides. It should still be bright green with some browning. Do not overcook. It should still have a bite to it at the thicker end of the stem. Remove the broccolini to serving dishes and top with the orange-panko mixture. Serve immediately.


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