It started with a phone conversation with my dad.
“We’re having salmon tonight.” He boasted. “I picked up a gorgeous piece for $14.99 a pound at Santa Monica Seafood.”
Jealousy immediately flared up in the pit of my belly. “That’s nice.” I said agreeably, while I secretly stewed that I would most likely be eating Trader Joes’ meatless meatballs or something equally unexciting at my apartment that night.
We talked about a few other things – I thanked him again for the amazing walnut and pecan turtles from Chocolate Soldier that he bought me for my upcoming birthday, he told me about how he was going to finish the master bathroom he’s refinishing at my home in OC (I tuned out during this part), and then we exchanged our good byes.
Even though the majority of our phone time was spent conversing about other matters, the rest of the day I couldn’t stop thinking about the salmon I was not going to be eating. It’s been so expensive lately, and I never seem to be able to find fresh wild salmon at any of my markets or grocery stores. Yet, when I stopped at Whole Foods on my way home from work later that day, there it was – a beautiful piece of fresh wild salmon for $13.99 a pound.
I squealed louder than any person of the age of 2 should squeal and immediately bought a 1/3rd of a pound. From there, I proceeded directly to the produce section – an idea for a side dish already germinating in my head. Since salmon and dill are best friends forever and I am never one to come between friends, I found a package of fresh dill to use as both a seasoning for my salmon and a key component of the accompanying dish. I went nuts over 101 Cookbooks’ vibrant green beans with leeks and dill this past winter and decided to kick it up a few notches by mixing it with whole wheat orzo, a bit of lemon, and some goat cheese.
The end result was so good that I had to make it again two nights later. You know, because I needed to ensure I was getting plenty of Omega-3s. I actually think I’m feeling a little Omega-3 deficient this week too. And definitely a little dill, leek, green beans, orzo, and goat cheese deficient, as well.
Salmon with Dill, Leek, Goat Cheese Orzo
4-5 ounces salmon
2 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 small leek, chopped (approximately 1/3 cup)
¼ cup whole wheat orzo
1 cup slightly steamed green beans, cut into 1 each pieces
Chicken broth, water mixture
Marinate salmon in 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon wine in small oven-safe baking dish. Sprinkle with some of dill (reserve the rest for the orzo) and season with salt, pepper. Broil in oven approximately 4-5 minutes on each side (depending on thickness) or until reaches desired doneness.
Heat large saucepan over medium. Toast orzo in a little olive oil, add mixture of chicken broth and water (I start with 2 cups), and season with pepper to taste. Reduce heat and simmer, adding liquid as it needs it. Approximately 10 minutes before orzo is cooked through (will take around 25 minutes total to cook using this method – less if using white instead of wheat orzo), add the leeks. When all the liquid has been absorbed and the orzo is tender, stir in the dill, green beans, tablespoon of white wine, ½ tablespoon lemon juice, and lemon zest. Cook together until all elements are integrated. Serve and top with goat cheese.