Seared Salmon with Sesame Kale Salad

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It’s salmon season and if you’re like me you are always interested in a new way to prepare it. And honestly, as much as I like the flavor of salmon, it’s possible I eat it perhaps more because it contains Omega-3 fatty acids that have excellent health benefits. I try to have it for dinner once or twice a week. I’m an advocate for a smaller portion size per person – four to five ounces is my goal. Everything I read says we should cut back on the portion size of protein we eat.

If you shy away from cooking salmon for fear of ruining it, here is a good rule. Allow about 10 minutes of cooking time over medium heat, per one inch thickness of the salmon, whether it’s baked in the oven on a sheet pan, seared in a pan or grilled on your barbecue. To test for doneness, simply take the tip of a knife or a fork and gently pull between the flakes to open it a little. It should no longer be translucent. For this recipe, I prefer to buy salmon that is no thicker than 1-1/2 inches so it will cook more quickly and evenly. How about the skin – do you leave it on or take it off? It’s a personal preference. Some cooks keep it on for the added flavor it gives the salmon, then slide it off before serving. If you prefer to cook without the skin, ask the seafood department to remove it, saving you valuable time in the kitchen.

Combined with this sesame kale salad, you’re hitting your nutrition out of the park with this recipe. I know, I know – many food critics say that kale is so yesterday. I continue to say kale is here to stay. As one of the top vegetables for nutritional benefits and its flexibility in recipes, why would we not want to use it in our home cooking. The kale, along with the ginger and sesame seeds are all high flavor points that compliment the rich salmon.

What I love best about this recipe is dividing the vinaigrette in half and using it to both briefly marinate the salmon and tossing with the delicate strips of kale leaves. It should take you a little less than an hour to have this on the table from start to finish. Follow the recipe instructions to first make the vinaigrette and then cut the kale, green onions and carrots while the salmon is briefly marinating.

Seared Salmon with Sesame Kale Salad
 
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 salmon filets, about 4-5 ounces each
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 head thinly sliced Tuscan kale (also called Lacinato or Dinosaur) (about 8 cups)
  • ½ cup sliced green onions
  • 1 cup grated carrots (about 2 medium or 1 large)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Instructions
  1. Put salmon filets in a shallow dish for marinating. Whisk together rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger and sesame oil. Whisk in olive oil; season with pepper and a pinch of salt. Pour half of vinaigrette over the salmon, turning filets to coat; marinate refrigerated 30 minutes (and up to one hour).
  2. Remove salmon from marinade, discarding marinade. Heat a large skillet over medium heat; add a small amount of olive oil or spray pan with non-stick spray and add salmon (if cooking with the skin on, out the flesh side down in the pan first). Cook until halfway done, about 5 minutes. Turn and cook just until salmon flesh is cooked, about 4 to 5 minutes (when cooking salmon, a good rule is to allow about 10 minutes cooking time at medium heat for every inch thickness of salmon).
  3. While the salmon is cooking, toss the kale, carrots, green onions and sesame seeds with the remaining vinaigrette.
  4. If using salmon with the skin on, remove the skin by sliding a knife or spatula between the flesh and the skin. Serve salmon on top of the kale salad.

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