Just a reminder that we eat mostly meatless…meaning I do cook dinners with meat a few times a month. Fish is nearly always my go-to meat because it cooks up super quick and it’s so versatile. And of all the fish I normally grab salmon because of its potassium, vitamin B12, and Omega-3 essential fatty acids. And it just tastes really, really yummy.
This is an easy oven-roasted salmon with buttered leeks and a bright and sassy lemon quinoa on the side–oh man, such a rich and decadent meal that will make you feel like you are eating at a 4-star restaurant. The salmon is rich and bright from the lemon, the leeks just melt into this buttery, warm and rich topping, and the quinoa adds more lemony brightness. And, just because, I’m also throwing a breadcrumb gremolata on top of the leeks. A typical gremolata is an herby citrusy Italian topping for pasta or meat. In addition to parsley and lemon zest, I’m also adding breadcrumbs to my gremolata, for a bit of crisp crunch on top of the buttered leeks.
OVEN ROASTED SALMON WITH BUTTERED LEEKS AND LEMON QUINOA
I’ll be honest, I don’t know the weight of the filet; I purchased a full salmon filet and cut it in thirds. I used one third for this meal, and it was about 6 inches in length.
- 6-inch salmon filet (the filet I purchased had the skin on, but you can also use fish without the skin)
- 1 leek, cleaned and sliced thinly
- 1 slice whole grain bread, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- 1 lemon, zested, sliced, and seeded (reserve the zest for the breadcrumb topping, and use the slices for the salmon)
- 1/2 cup red or rainbow quinoa, rinsed
- 1/2 carrot chopped
- 1/2 celery stalk, chopped
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare the fish filet by patting dry with a paper towel, and lay on baking sheet with parchment paper (makes for easy clean up). Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and arrange the lemon slices on top. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes. The fish will flake in the middle when done–keep an eye on it so it won’t be overcooked and get dry.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Saute the carrot, celery, and onion with a little salt and pepper until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rinsed quinoa and saute until the quinoa is slightly toasted, then add the vegetable broth. Let come to a boil, then immediately cover and turn the heat to low. Let simmer until the quinoa is cooked through, about 10-15 minutes. If the quinoa sticks to the bottom of the pot from cooking a little too long, turn off the heat, add 1-2 tablespoons of water, cover, and let sit for a few minutes, it’ll fluff right up.
- While the quinoa is simmering, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cleaned and sliced leeks with salt and pepper to taste and saute until the leeks are translucent and sort of melty, about 10-15 minutes. Set melted leeks aside in a bowl and in the same pan, back on medium heat, add another tablespoon of olive oil, and toast breadcrumbs to make the gremolata. When toasted, put in a bowl and add the chopped parsley and lemon zest and stir together.
- When salmon is done, pull out of the oven and let rest. Pull the lemon slices off the salmon and throw in the pot with the cooked quinoa. Smash the lemon slices with the quinoa to release the roasted lemon juice. Also add one quarter of the buttered leeks. Stir together, then pull out and discard the lemon rinds.
- To serve, slice the salmon into 4 portions (or two very large portions if you are starving), top with the buttered leeks and the toasted breadcrumb gremolata, and serve with lemon quinoa on the side.