Office Eats (3): Grilled Salmon Filet with Greek-style Couscous Salad

Photo by Justin Janowitz

Photo by Justin Janowitz

On the third episode of Office Eats, I made grilled salmon filets accompanied by a Greek-style couscous salad. I’ve written about my luke-warm love affair with fish before, and salmon in particular is one of the greater offenders. However, since I figured out a way to make it not only palatable, but actually enjoyable, I thought I’d share.

This recipe is very similar to one I featured a little over a year ago, but this one has an extra key ingredient that takes it to a whole new level. Not to mention that it’s prepared using my cooking method of choice: grilled. The real secret to it’s taste bud success is that I’ve paired it with a side dish that is so full of flavor that if you’re lucky enough to get a flake of fish and a few pearls of couscous in the same bite, you’ll understand why these two dishes are a match made in heaven.

On film shoot day, the crew was happy to finally reach this recipe, because not only did it mean we were halfway through the call sheet for the day, but it signified that we were that much closer to taking our lunch break. Since this was a bonafide production, our production assistant, or PA, fulfilled both a coffee run (I know, I know, but we started really early in the morning), as well as a mad rush for our lunch. You know it’s a sanctioned production when you break for lunch. Trust me on this one.

By the time our PA dutifully jotted down our lunch orders, Kenny, who was upstairs studying the entire time, hadn’t yet come down for a breather, and I was beginning to suspect that he might be getting hungry. Given that we had a date-night scheduled for that evening, I earned my good-wife-stripes early, when I specifically ordered a lunch I knew Kenny would enjoy. He was pleasantly surprised when our PA returned with lunch, and I invited him to join the crew as we chowed down. Little did he know that I was actually more interested in feasting on the fruits of my Office Eats labor than any of the restaurant options.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, click here for episode 3 of Office Eats, from Relativity Media’s #COIN.

 

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Grilled Salmon Filet with Greek-style Couscous Salad
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Greek
Serves: 2-4
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
This perfect pair will satisfy fish lovers and haters, alike!
Ingredients
For the Couscous:
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1¼ cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous
  • 11/2 cup diced seedless cucumber
  • 2 Tbs. fresh oregano, minced
  • 2 Tbs. fresh mint, minced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup feta cheese, diced
  • ½ cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper and Kosher salt to taste
For the Salmon:
  • 2 salmon filets
  • 2 Tbs. stone ground dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 Tbs. fresh oregano, minced
  • 2 lemons, divided
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt
  • *Italian parsley, chopped (optional)
Instructions
For the Couscous:
  1. Place red onions in a small bowl, and cover with red wine vinegar. Set aside to soak.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring chicken stock and 1 Tbs. olive oil to a rapid boil. Add couscous, stir, cover, and turn off the heat. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine cucumber, oregano, mint, tomatoes, cheese, olives, salt and pepper.
  4. Once the couscous has steamed and absorbed all the liquid, fluff the couscous and add to the bowl with the other ingredients.
  5. Stir in the red onions and a few teaspoons of the red wine vinegar. Add remainder of the olive oil, and stir to combine ingredients. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for later.
For the Salmon:
  1. Place filets in a large plastic bag. Add in mustard, garlic, oregano, the juice and zest of 1 lemon, and the olive oil. Close the bag, and massage all the ingredients into the fish. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat your grill (or grill pan) to medium/high heat, spray with cooking spray, and grill fish, skin side down first, for 3 minutes per side.
  3. Place the fish on plate, and garnish with Italian parsley and fresh lemon juice.
  4. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later.

Alaskan Salmon

baked salmon

This past summer, my husband and father braved the cold Alaskan air to take a fishing trip together. My husband has enjoyed fishing since his childhood, when he would go on special trips with his grandpa, and my dad, well… he likes the camaraderie. As someone who doesn’t love fish, I was hoping they would have a good time, share stories, bond, and maybe come home with a fillet or two. I can deal with a fillet or two. But oh, no. Not these guys. When they go fishing, they go fishing, and when they returned home, lucky me, I got a truck-load of freshly caught salmon.

KennyDadAlaskaFish

Salmon, with all of its healthy omega 3’s and oils packed into its pink flesh, (which, by the way, is exactly what makes it taste so…well, fishy), makes it onto the list of my least favorite fish to eat and cook. But I found myself with an overflowing freezer full of cleaned, de-boned,  filleted salmon, and a husband eager to taste the fruits of his labor. So I was on a quest to find at least one fool-proof salmon recipe that even I, hater of all things “fishy” could tolerate, and even enjoy.Cleaning salmon

I asked the different chefs in my family, as I am the only one with this aversion, what they do to season their fish, and the consensus was to keep it simple. I can do that. I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. My cousin, Ilianita, suggested using fresh lemon juice and garlic, a classic mixture in Cuban cuisine. Others suggested herbs, and it was my dear husband who had the bright idea to add some wine to the mix (although, later he fessed to hearing the tip from one of the fishing pros in Alaska). I tried a few different variations, until I found the perfect blend. And let’s just say that this once fish-hater ate my whole darn piece of fish. Perhaps it was because this fish was so fresh, or maybe it was the marinade, but my salmon really didn’t taste fishy at all. Each bite was naturally buttery, and sweetly perfumed by the citrus and herbs.

I made this dish for a Shabbat dinner when one of my friends who keeps kosher was in attendance, as fish is considered pareve (that is, it is neither milk or meat, and can be prepared and eaten without too many restrictions). Served with couscous and a nice salad, it turns out fresh Alaskan Salmon is a real crowd-pleaser.

Now, what to do with the rest of the stash?

Fresh Caught Salmon

 

4.5 from 2 reviews
Baked Salmon
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
This is the winning recipe for fish that even non-fish-eaters will enjoy.
Ingredients
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 lemons, juiced and zested
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 1 Tbs basil
  • 2 Tbs fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 4 6oz fillets of Alaskan Salmon
Instructions
  1. In a resealable plastic bag, combine first 7 ingredients (garlic to salt/pepper). Close the bag, and massage it, so the ingredients mix to form a marinade.
  2. Place the salmon filets in the bag, and refrigerate for an hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Make a packet using tinfoil, and place each salmon filet plus a little bit of the marinade in its own packet. Seal tightly.
  5. Place the foil packets on a baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes, or until fish is flaky.
  6. Serve immediately.