This sautéed salmon with orzo, feta, and red wine vinaigrette originally called for the recipe to be grilled. I haven’t set up my grill, and I don’t have a grill pan, so I sautéed it. While it was the second sautéed dish in a row, it was also another quick and easy dish to prepare, so that was a win-win.
An interesting thing I found with this recipe was the preparation of the spinach. You cook the orzo, and while it’s still hot, add the spinach, and allow the steam to wilt it without having to cook it in a pan. I loved this! It also made the dish look nice and pretty. Another thing I love about this dish is that it would work warm or cold. The orzo is more of a salad, and is served room temp, and salmon is great at any temp as far as I’m concerned. The balance of flavors was very nice too. I don’t think I’ve ever had basil with feta or olives before, and I’ve never had pine nuts with any of these ingredients (with the exception of a basil pesto). I thought it all worked very well together. The acidity of the red wine vinaigrette complimented the grape tomatoes nicely. The bf was not as impressed as I was; he’s not a fan of olives, but came around once he picked them out. Compared to the balsamic glazed salmon, this meal kept me feeling full for a longer period of time, which I attribute to the orzo. I would like to try this recipe from epicurious again with grilled salmon. I’ve never grilled salmon before, and would love the challenge.
sauteed salmon with orzo feta and red wine vinaigrette
for the orzo:
- 1 ½ cups orzo
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 ounces fresh baby spinach about 3 cups not packed
- 1 ½ cups grape tomatoes cut in half
- ½ cup pine nuts toasted (see Kitchen Note)
- ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese 4 ounces
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives for garnish
for the salmon:
- four 5-ounce skinless salmon fillets
- olive oil for coating the fish
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
make the orzo:
Prepare an outdoor grill for medium- high cooking over direct heat. Meanwhile, make the orzo salad: Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo and cook, stirring often, for about 8 minutes, or until just tender. Drain the orzo in a sieve and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the vinegar, shallots, and garlic together. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss the warm orzo, spinach, tomatoes, pine nuts, and basil with the vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside at room temperature.
cook the salmon:
Coat the salmon with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Oil the cooking grate. Place the salmon on the grill with the top right corner of each fillet facing the 2-o'clock position and cook for 4 minutes, without moving the salmon. (This will help give the salmon a good sear of nice grill marks and help it release from the grate.) Using a thin metal spatula, starting at the corner of each fillet nearest you, flip the fillets over. Grill for about 2 minutes, or until the fish is opaque with a slightly rosy center when flaked in the thickest part with the tip of a small knife. Remove from the grill. Mound the salad in the center of a large serving platter or four dinner plates. Sprinkle with the feta cheese. Top with the salmon, sprinkle with the chives, and serve.
toasting pine nuts To toast pine nuts, heat a dry medium skillet over medium heat. Add the nuts and cook,stirring often, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate and let cool.