Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Slow-Cooked Salmon, Chickpeas and Greens

Last weekend was a recharge situation. It was the only weekend in April I was not traveling and was my downtime before a full month of weekend adventures in May. Clearly I should call this the Roaming Lemon or something nomadic. It was a rainy, dreary weekend and I was thrilled to be forced to stay inside and only venture out for yoga and froyo.

After participating in morning yoga on Sunday, I felt nice and relaxed and ready for another week. Of course, before I started the week, I had to make it through my first hot barre class and boy oh boy do you get sweaty! I attended the class at DanceFIT Studio in Natick which is the second studio of Gina Fay's who opened her first dance studio at 24. My life just got put into perspective, hard core. Anyways, hot barre is like hot yoga in that it takes place in a 92 degree room and uses barre workouts to incorporate strength, flexibility and cardio training all at once. I took ballet when I was 7 and that was about it but my mom was a ballerina for many years (no pressure). I am not coordinated but I can do a pliet. I cannot, however, jump up and down in and out of pliets. Needless to say, things got sweaty and slippery and ridiculous.

Gettin' our dancer on
Inspired by my fitness success and desire to not waste it on a bowl of ice cream for dinner, I perused my pile of Bon Appetit magazines for some dinner inspiration. The winner was salmon with roasted chickpeas. Normally I just marinade some salmon, stick it in the oven, microwave some veggies and call it a day. But this recipe was simple enough to make on a Sunday night but complicated enough for me to be impressed with myself. It is afterall a new recipe.

The pastry brush was a casualty of cooking
The recipe calls for four 6 ounce skinless salmon fillets. I was too sheepish to approach a grocery store employee to find this specific hunk of fish so I bought a large fillet and proceeded to attempt to skin it before cutting it into smaller fillets. Fish is slippery and this was a bit of a messy task so next time, I'm going to ask where the skinless fillets are. It made me think of the fish market in Seattle the whole time, they probably skin and filet a fish in 10 seconds flat!

Not so expertly filleted 
While the oven was preheating, I chopped the greens to be the bedding for the fish. I used watercress instead of mustard greens but either would work. The greens are scattered amongst the seasoned chickpeas before adding the fillets of salmon.

We're getting there!
Overall, the prep time was only about 20 minutes so while the salmon cooked, I cleaned up the mess and made the sauce. Somehow, my bottle of honey always crystalizes so the sauce came out a little more oily than I believe it is intended to be. I still found this to be a quick and easy way to prepare fish though! And it was a healthy alternative to ice cream.

The final product
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 15.5 ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1 small bunch of watercress (or mustard greens) chopped
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 4 6 ounce skinless salmon fillets 
  1. Preheat oven to 250. Brush a baking dish or pan with oil.
  2. Combine chickpeas, cumin and 1 Tablespoon of oil in a medium bowl. Mash half of the chickpeas with a fork before seasoning with salt and pepper and spreading out on the pan/baking sheet.
  3. Heat the remaining 1 Tablespoon of oil in a large skillet. Cook the garlic in the oil until fragrant, less than one minute. Add the greens to the garlic and toss until cook (wilted, about one minute).
  4. Add honey and 1/4 cup of water to the greens, seasoning with salt and pepper. Toss until the greens are cooked completely, around two minutes. Spread the greens onto the pan with chickpeas.
  5. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Arrange the fish over the greens and chickpeas. Bake until the salmon is cooked (it will turn opaque instead of slimy fish colored or 30-35 minutes).
  • 1/2 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (only if using capers, heat oil and cook capers until opened)
  1.  Whisk shallot, lemon juice, mustard and honey in a small bowl.
  2. Gradually whisk in olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
  3. Drizzle over salmon and top with capers (if you desire).

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