Today's Special: Marco Canora's Quinoa Salad with Salmon
A healthy-cooking hero gives his fresh take on panzanella.
In A Good Food Day, Marco Canora's cookbook overflowing with deliciously healthy dishes, the acclaimed New York City chef recalls how panzanella—Tuscan-style bread-and-tomato salad—has long been a staple for him in the summer. Traditional panzanella uses unsalted, stale Tuscan bread to soak up the vinaigrette and tomato juices.
"Once when I was cooking quinoa, I noticed that the particle size and the way it opens up as it cooks really reminded me of the way the real Tuscan bread reacts," Canora says. "I thought, wouldn't it be cool to use quinoa in a classic panzanella approach." So he gave it a whirl and was amazed by the delicious results: "Those little cups in the quinoa particles make great vessels for holding flavor like quality olive oil and vinegar." He adds rich and flavorful wild salmon to the dish to bulk it up with more protein, but even that twist is classically inspired. "A lot of versions in Tuscany will add canned tuna," he says.
Ripe, juicy tomatoes are another critical component in the dish. "The Tuscan repertoire is very seasonally motivated. I only do this dish in the summer when I can get really good tomatoes," he says. A sprinkling of capers delivers tiny brine bursts to each bite, while fresh sweet basil lends aromatic freshness. Canora's one-to-one ratio of extra-virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar is sufficient to dress the dish perfectly and add enough acidic bite to keep flavors popping.
QUINOA PANZANELLA WITH WILD SALMONHands-on: 24 min. Total: 34 min.
Cooking the salmon with the skin on keeps the flesh silky and tender and bastes it with its own healthy fat. We love using a variety of heirloom cherry tomatoes—scout your farmers' market for the best options.
1 (8-ounce) skin-on salmon fillet (such as wild Alaskan)1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil1½ cups cooked quinoa (about ½ cup uncooked)1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes½ cup diced red onion½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves¼ cup red wine vinegar¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained½ English cucumber, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1. Sprinkle salmon evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Heat a medium skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan. Add fillet, skin side down; cook 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high; cook 4 minutes or until skin begins to brown. Turn fillet; cook 2 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Place fillet on a cutting board. Remove and discard skin. Flake fillet with a fork into small chunks.
2. Combine flaked salmon, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 3/8 teaspoon pepper, quinoa, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl; toss gently to combine.
SERVES 4 (serving size: about 1 cup)CALORIES 345; FAT 23g (sat 3g, mono 14.7g, poly 3.1g); PROTEIN 16g; CARB 19g; FIBER 3g; CHOL 31mg; IRON 2mg; SODIUM 641mg; CALC 46mg