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Mucho Gusto

Allison’s Salmon, Quinoa, and Kale Bowl

This is the forty-eighth installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!

Melt-in-your-mouth, flakey salmon over a bed of warm quinoa and kale—this delicious dinner is an easy go-to whenever you are craving something fresh! I love seafood in all its shapes and forms, whether cooked fish, sushi, or shellfish. At home, we eat A LOT of salmon, because it is easy to find and goes well with so many flavors. My family even has a binder dedicated to our favorite seafood meals, filled with lots of salmon-based recipes, of course.

I come from a family of great chefs, and we all love to help each other out. This is part of what makes our family meals fun and tasty! Growing up, my cousins and I would always hang out in the kitchen, stirring pots or peeling potatoes, whether it was at my grandparents’ house, aunt’s and uncle’s, or my own. 

Over quarantine, I got even more into cooking. Before, I always loved helping in the kitchen with my parents or grandma, but I never really took charge and cooked meals on my own. So, I decided to start. I began offering to make dinner for my family most nights, following whatever recipe my mom would leave out for dinner that evening. My parents were thrilled to have someone else do the cooking. And, I came to love this part of the day: playing music in the background, sautéeing, sizzling, and mixing whatever was on the menu for that night. I’ve found that cooking allows me to step back from the craziness of my day, and take time for myself—something I never really do.

As the weeks went on, I learned how to chop quicker, season better, and became more comfortable in the kitchen. I even decided to make a food Instagram to showcase my new found passion to friends and family. I started following other food blogs and spent my time scrolling through artsy food pictures, finding new recipes to try: quick breakfast foods, baked goods, snacks, and full meals. Even though we have a variety of recipes in our binders and cookbooks, it is always nice to change things up. I wanted to expand beyond them and loved finding new things to try, especially because we were not eating out as much. 

This recipe was inspired by a food Instagram post of a summery salmon dish with a citrus sauce over rice. One night for dinner, I put my own spin on it with ingredients we already had in our house. It is so simple but so delicious that it immediately became a repeat in the Vuono household.

This recipe serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 4 skin-on salmon fillets 
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 2 cup quinoa
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 onions 
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 bag of organic chopped kale
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Lemon Citrus Salt:

  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 cup butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 lemon, juiced

Instructions:

First, cook the quinoa. To do this, place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer, rinse thoroughly under cool water, and drain. Heat 3 teaspoons of olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. When the oil becomes hot, toast the quinoa in the pan for about 2 minutes. Make sure to stir the quinoa constantly as you do this! Add the water and a pinch of salt, stir, and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover the pan with a lid, and cook for 15-20 minutes. With the lid still on, remove the pot from heat, and let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes. Then, remove the lid and gently fluff the quinoa with a fork. Add the chickpeas to the quinoa and mix. Place the lid on top to keep the mixture warm.

Now, sauté the onions and kale. To do this, peel and finely chop the onions. In a frying pan over medium-high heat, warm 1-2 tsp olive oil. Add the onions, salt, pepper, and chili powder to the pan and cook for about 4-5 minutes. Stir this mixture occasionally. Add in the kale, and cook for 1-2 minutes or until wilted. Place the saute on a plate, cover, and set aside.

Next, cook the salmon. Pat the fish dry with a paper towel and season generously with salt and pepper. Over medium heat, in a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the salmon skin side down, and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the skin is crisp. Turn the salmon over and continue cooking for 2-4 minutes, or until the flesh is opaque and flaky. 

Next, make the sauce. I found this lemon citrus sauce recipe from Food. In a small saucepan, heat up the wine and minced shallots. Bring to a boil and reduce over medium-high heat.  Only 2 tablespoons of liquid should remain. Lower the heat and whisk in the butter, a few pieces at a time. Continue whisking until the sauce is smooth. Add the cream and lemon juice while continuously mixing the sauce. Place the top on the saucepan until serving time so that it stays warm.

Lastly, transfer the kale mixture to a bowl, topping it off with the quinoa-chickpea mixture and salmon. Dizzle as much sauce as you’d like, and serve!

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