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Good For You Recipe: Pan Seared Fillets, Vegetable Spaghetti


Last updated 1/13/2020 at 2:33pm

Let’s start with the good-for-you part of the recipe. Salmon is a superbly healthy main-dish ingredient; an excellent source of lean protein that is also rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

I accompany the salmon with vegetable “spaghetti:” vitamin-packed fresh vegetables cut into long, thin strands. And I top it up all with a rustic pesto sauce that uses far less oil and fewer pine nuts than found in the traditional recipe.

As for deliciousness, this recipe doesn’t hold back.

Salmon is luxuriously rich in flavor and texture, especially when cooked medium-rare. The pesto, even in this leaner version, packs a big punch of flavor. And the vegetable strands surprisingly offer much of the pleasure you’d get from eating a starchy bowl of pasta.

The swirl of brightly colored vegetables, the vivid green and red of the pesto and tomatoes, and the rose-pink salmon add up to a beautiful presentation.

You’ll also be surprised by how easy the dish is to put together. You can prep the vegetables in advance, the pesto takes 5 minutes to put together, and the final cooking and plating will take no more than 15 minutes.

Pan-Seared Salmon Fillets And Vegetable “Spaghetti”

Serves 4

Rustic Pesto And Cherry Tomatoes:

1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

1/4 cup (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in halves

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable Spaghetti And Pan-Seared Salmon:

2 Medium Zucchini, Trimmed

1 medium yellow squash, or 1 extra zucchini, trimmed

2 large carrots, peeled and trimmed

3 radishes, trimmed

1/4 cup (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil

4 portions center-cut salmon fillet, each about 6 ounces (185 g)

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Edible organic flowers, for garnish, optional


To make the pesto, put the basil, olive oil, Parmesan, pine nuts and garlic in a mixing bowl. Stir well.

Add the cherry tomatoes and stir again to coat them thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

For the vegetable spaghetti, use a spiralizer to cut the zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, and radishes into spaghetti-like strands; or, if you don’t have a spiralizer, cut them using a mandolin or by carefully cutting them lengthwise into thin slices and then stacking the slices and cutting them lengthwise into similar thin strands. Set aside all the vegetable spaghetti in a bowl, tossing them together.

Season the salmon fillets to taste on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat in a saute pan large enough to hold all the fillets comfortably in a single layer.

When the oil is hot enough to shimmer slightly, carefully add the fillets and cook until nicely browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare, turning them only once; the fish should still look a slightly deeper rose color at the center when a small knife-tip is inserted between the flakes near the thickest part.

When the fish is done to your liking, transfer to a plate and keep warm.

In a clean pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat.

When the oil is hot, add the vegetable spaghetti, season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir and toss continuously until the strands are brightly colored and have softened slightly, about 1 minute.

Using tongs, arrange beds of the vegetable spaghetti on individual heated serving plates. Place a salmon fillet on top of the vegetable spaghetti on each plate.

Spoon the pesto-tomato mixture over and around the salmon.

If you like, garnish with edible flowers. Serve immediately.

(© 2019 Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc. Distributed by Tribune Content agency, LLC)


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