Thursday, July 27, 2017

Salmon with Quinoa Salad and Arugula Chimichurri

Although I've been to the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival at Walt Disney World twice (and absolutely LOVED it), I have not yet had the pleasure of visiting the park for the renowned International Food and Wine Festival. That's all about to change this year!

In September, for the first time I will be visiting Epcot for this popular festival for it's 35th Anniversary. In honor of this occasion, Epcot will be featuring a record 35 Marketplace booths with an array of appetizing dishes and libations from around the world. You can find the list of all the Marketplace booths with their menus here.

In honor of my consuming, unstoppable excitement, I'm thrilled to share an amazing recipe for one of the dishes featured over the years (including this year) at the Food and Wine Festival. Although in years past it has been a part of the Patagonia Marketplace menu, this year it will be included in the all new Active Eats Marketplace. Roasted Verlasso Salmon with Quinoa Salad and Arugula Chimichurri sounds appetizing by it's description alone, but as a preview to our upcoming Epcot adventures, I decided to make it myself using the recipe in one of my Epcot Festivals Cookbooks.

The salmon is delicately seasoned and roasted in the original recipe, but I adjusted the spices a bit on my own, swapping out the garlic salt (which I don't have) for some garlic powder and kosher salt, and adding a bit of paprika as well. I also grilled my salmon instead of roasting it, since the weather was conducive to grilling, and increased the amount of salmon I made (about 1 1/2 times the original amount, as there was plenty of quinoa salad and chimichurri to go around). The recipe below includes the original values and instructions provided by Disney.

The arugula chimichurri really makes this dish. It's herbaceous, citrusy and vibrant. Chimichurri is basically Argentinian pesto. Although this version is non-traditional, it's exquisite and easily takes the place of a squeeze of lemon or lime on the fish. You will likely yield more chimichurri than you will need for this quantity of salmon, but it would also be excellent served over grilled chicken or steak. I would also imagine it freezes quite well, similar to pesto.

The quinoa salad is reminiscent of tabbouleh but without all the herbs. It's crunchy and bright, a nice bed for the salmon. I used organic tri-color quinoa, which added even more color to the salad with its red, white, and black quinoa combination. Although this is a composed dish, each component can easily stand on its own.

Although I can easily replicate this Disney dish at home, I'm so excited to try it at Epcot this September at the Food and Wine Festival, along with so many other incredible-sounding dishes. Can't make it to Disney yourself this year? Try this recipe and you will almost feel like you're there yourself!

Salmon with Quinoa Salad and Arugula Chimichurri
Serves 6
(From The Best of Epcot Festivals Cookbook--originally served at Patagonia Marketplace at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival)

1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
6 (5- to 6-ounce) salmon fillets, skin removed

1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, including stems, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh arugula
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste

Quinoa Salad Dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil (I reduced this to 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste

Quinoa Salad:
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa, cooked per instructions (makes approximately 3 cups cooked), cooled
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 small tomato, diced
1/4 cup corn kernels
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste

For Salmon: Combine garlic salt, lemon juice, and olive oil in small bowl. Place salmon in large zip-top bag and add liquid, turning fillets to evenly coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove salmon from refrigerator at least 10 minutes before cooking.

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Cover 15 x 10-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place salmon on baking sheet in a single layer, evenly spaced. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until the salmon easily can be flaked apart with a fork.

For Chimichurri: Place all ingredients in blender or food processor. Blend for about 10 seconds on medium speed or until ingredients are evenly blended. Season with salt and pepper. Store in a sealed container and refrigerate until ready to use.

For Quinoa Salad Dressing: Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

For Quinoa Salad: Mix all ingredients together in large bowl and toss with dressing.

To Serve: Equally divide salad between serving plates, top with salmon fillet and drizzle with chimichurri.


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