Seared Salmon with Quinoa, Asparagus, and Spinach


Fill a large skillet with 1 inch of salted water and bring to a simmer over high heat. Add the asparagus, and cover and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the asparagus to a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain asparagus and pat dry with a clean dish towel. Cut the asparagus on a diagonal into 1-inch pieces. (Asparagus can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Bring 2 ½ cups water, garlic, and the ½ teaspoon salt to a simmer in a medium sauce-pan over medium heat. Add the quinoa and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the quinoa is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, uncover, and let cool slightly. Stir ¼ cup of Lemon Vinaigrette into the quinoa and cool completely. Stir in the green onions and asparagus and season to taste with salt and pepper. (Quinoa can be prepared 4 hours ahead; cover and keep at cool room temperature.)

Toss the spinach with half of the remaining vinaigrette. Divide the spinach among 4 plates and top with quinoa, dividing evenly.

Heat the olive oil in a very large, heavy skillet over high heat. Season both sides of the salmon with salt and pepper. Add the salmon to the skillet and cook until just browned on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn the salmon and quickly sear until the second sides are just golden brown and the salmon is not quite opaque in center, about 2 minutes longer. Top the quinoa with the hot salmon. Drizzle the salmon with the remaining vinaigrette. Garnish the salads with lemon wedges and serve.


Lemon Vinaigrette


6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (regular balsamic vinegar can be substituted)

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon grated lemon peel


Whisk all the ingredients to blend in a small bowl. (Dressing can be made 1 week ahead. Cover the dressing and refrigerate, allowing it to return to room temperature before using.)

Recipe Credit

Salad for Dinner: Complete Meals for All Seasons by Jeanne Kelley. Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 2012.