I’m back on the Curtis Stone bandwagon. After having completely forgotten that we have more than just a few cookbooks, I decided to change gears for a bit. Autumn is pretty much over, so I think it’s about time we get back into some more complete meals, as opposed to “one-off” dishes that the Test Kitchen offers. Curtis’ cookbook is perfect for this. His recipes combine all aspects of a dish on just one or two pages.
I put this dish together last night in about a half hour. In general, when I think of something that involves fish, I get a little nervous. I know it can be complicated. The thing is, fish wasn’t the actual primary ingredient that Curtis put forward. He used chicken. Now, I think we all know that salmon is better for us than chicken is, so I went with the former. And I’m glad I did.
There was no challenging part of this recipe. It’s basically put together in three parts. First, the vinaigrette needs to be made. That requires a bit of prep and then combining and then some stirring. That’s easy. Next, the salad needs to be made. That’s some more prep and then combining those ingredients into a bowl. That’s easy as well. The final task is to pan sear the salmon. In reality, if you’ve got the salmon cut into appropriately sized pieces, this should take under ten minutes. After that, plate everything and serve.
If you want to make something special for just two people, I think this is the way to go. There’s nothing too “out there” with this one. Salmon is awesome and the salad looks and tastes great. The vinaigrette is drizzled over everything, so you can be sure the taste will be there.
For the Vinaigrette
4 Tablespoons Sweet Onion, Finely Chopped
1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Capers, Chopped
1 Tablespoon Peperoncini, Chopped
1 Tablespoon Parsley, Chopped
2 Teaspoons White Wine Vinegar
1/4 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Regular Table Salt
Ground Black Pepper
For the Salad
5 Ounces Red & Green Leaf Lettuce
1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes, Halved
2 Small Zucchini
For the Salmon
4 6-Ounce Pieces of Salmon Fillet, Skin On
1 Tablespoon Regular Olive Oil
Regular Table Salt
Ground Black Pepper
The original name that Curtis Stone (in his cookbook titled What’s For Dinner) gave this recipe was Grilled Chicken with Arugula and Zucchini Salad with Lemon-Caper Vinaigrette. Obviously, I changed some things. If you enjoy arugula as opposed to red and green leaf lettuce, surely go with that. Also, if you prefer chicken over the salmon, this recipe is quite open to alterations. Go with the chicken, by all means.
Prepare the Vinaigrette
In a medium sized bowl, combine the onion, lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, peperoncini (pepperoncini, peperoncino – it’s all the same), parsley, salt, vinegar and a dash of black pepper. Mix these things together well. Then, slowly add in the extra-virgin olive oil while stirring. When you’re finished with this, you should have a very nice tasting vinaigrette.
Prepare the Salad
Break or cut the green and red leaf lettuce into 2 inch pieces. Then, add that and the tomatoes to a large bowl. Next, trim both ends from the zucchini and use a peeler to peel one side of each into ribbons. Progress just to the seeds in the center and then stop. Flip the zucchini and do the same to the other side. Finally, peel the remaining two sides to the seeds as well. You should be left with just the cores of each zucchini. You can cut these into pieces and add them to the salad also. Add the zucchini ribbons to the salad and mix with the lettuce and tomatoes.
Prepare the Salmon
Warm a heavy skillet over medium heat. Then, add 1 tablespoon regular olive oil to it. When the pan is to temperature, place the salmon pieces into it, skin side down. After that, sprinkle some salt and pepper over each piece.
Cook the salmon until you see its color change about half way up each piece. This should take about 5 minutes or so. When this happens, flip the pieces and let cook for another minute or so. Don’t overcook, as salmon has a tendency to get dry when it’s overcooked. When the salmon is finished, remove it from the heat.
Plate & Serve
Place one piece of salmon on each plate, skin side down. Then, add some salad to each plate as well. With a spoon, spread the vinaigrette over both the salad and the salmon and serve.
The Final Dish
I’d say this looks really good. My favorite part is the salmon, but really, the zucchini ribbons come in a close second. The vinaigrette is as tasty as ever, so everything comes together nicely.