Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Salmon on Red Quinoa and Aspargus with Lime Chive Sauce

I made this dish about a month and a half ago, and my immediate reaction was, "Wow. This is a show stopper meal and perfect for entertaining." I banked the recipe in the back of my head to make at a later date, and when my trip home was planned, it was a no-brainer that I would be serving this to my family. This is an ideal dish to serve to guests as it requires few ingredients, little time, and is very simple to make. Not only that, but if arranged like I have, it looks like a professional dish! Your guests will be in awe when you bring this dish to them, and will beg you for the recipe.

What's even better about this dish is that it is extremely healthy for you. Salmon is high in protein, rich in good fats, and loaded with other nutrients like vitamin D. Quinoa is high in protein and fibre while being low in cholesterol and sodium, making it an ideal replacement for less nutritious grains like white rice. And lastly, asparagus is a good source of fibre and various vitamins, and low in cholesterol and sodium. You can't go wrong with this, you gotta make it! Do it, Doo it, Dooo it!!!

1 cup red quinoa
2 cups water or vegetable broth (if using water, I would suggest adding a bouillon cube for flavour)
1/2 cup light sour cream
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1-2 teaspoons grated lime zest (based on personal taste)
2-3  tablespoons fresh lime juice (or about 1/2-1 lime)
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger/dry ginger
*2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
pinch of salt and white pepper
4 fresh salmon fillets
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 lbs asparagus (I really load up, and so use closer to 2 lbs)
1 tablespoon butter
extra lime juice for asparagus

*Note: The original recipe uses cilantro rather than chives. I despise the taste of cilantro and will not use it in my cooking, and so replace it with other suitable herbs. Dill would work as a substitute as well, but if using either dill or cilantro, because of the stronger flavour, I would recommend using half the amount and adjusting it to your taste.


Bring the quinoa and water/broth to a boil in a small pot. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until quinoa is no longer crunchy. (Every recipe that has quinoa in it I find drastically underestimates the cooking time. Quinoa is like rice, and takes awhile to soften up. Perhaps I know nothing and quinoa is supposed to be crunchy, but I do not enjoy it and would like it to have the texture of cooked rice. I have also found that recipes underestimate the amount of water needed, and so I am constantly adding more which slows down the cooking process. I have reflected my changes in the amounts and cooking time above.)

In the meantime, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, lime zest, 1-2 tbsp of the lime juice, ginger, chives, and pinch of salt and pepper in a small bowl, mixing well. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Place the fillets on a foil-lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray (I find this helps in removing the fillets easier). Brush the fillets with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and bake uncovered for about 11 to 14 minutes until the salmon is pink and flakes easily with a fork.

While the salmon is cooking, prepare the asparagus. Snap off the tough portion on each spear by grasping the asparagus ends with either hand and bending it near the bottom third. The asparagus will snap where it begins to get tough. Make sure to rinse the asparagus thoroughly to remove any dirt or sand. Place the asparagus in a large saucepan of boiling water and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes, until tender but crisp. They should have a nice bright green colour. Toss the asparagus in the butter and remaining 1 tbsp of lime juice. Season with additional salt to taste.

Serve immediately while hot. Enjoy!

Source: adapted from Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood

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