Cooking salmon in butter and oil and then using that flavorful liquid to make the rest of the dish, is a way to retain a lot of flavor. It also means that you only need one pot to make this Creamy Kale and Salmon in Orzo.
In a Special Issue of the Milk Street Magazine I read about the ‘throw it together’ technique. A technique where you use the cooking liquid of the salmon (in this case) as a starting point to cook the pasta. In other words, don’t waste flavor. We often talk about less food waste, well this is about flavor waste, or not waste flavor.
It is not a ground breaking discovery; I usually use the left-over liquid to make the sauce, but adding the pasta first should infuse the pasta itself with some of the flavors of the salmon and spices. Additionally, you only need one large skillet to make this Creamy Kale and Salmon in Orzo.
The main ingredients are: smoked salmon, orzo, baby kale, cherry tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, cream and cream cheese and fresh thyme.
- Salmon – I like to cook salmon with the skin on. It keeps the salmon together during cooking and it makes it so easy to transfer the fish from pan to plate. More importantly, cooking the skin crispy can be tasty as well. If you don’t like to eat the skin, just discard it before eating. Simple advice: do not overcook the salmon. Cook salmon skin-side down on high heat until the skin is crispy. This takes about 3 minutes. You know when the salmon is ready to be turned when the flesh turns from translucent pink to opaque along the sides and starts to move towards the top.
- Orzo – you can use any type of pasta you like.
- Baby kale – again you can use various greens instead. Arugula, spinach, lettuce, collard greens, mustard greens
- Thyme – clearly some substitution possible here, like sage, parsley or oregano
Other salmon recipes are
Creamy Kale and Salmon in Orzo
- 2 salmon fillets skin on
- salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 onion chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 12 cherry tomatoes halved
- 1.5 cups water
- 1/2 cup cream
- 4 ounces orzo
- 1 ounce cream cheese
- 3 cups baby kale
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- Rub the salmon fillets with salt, pepper and paprika.
- Heat oil and butter in a skillet and add the salmon (skin side down first) and cook for approx. 3 minutes. Flip around and cook for another 3 minutes. Transfer salmon to a plate and cover to keep warm. (NOTE 1)
- To the same skillet add onion and garlic and cook until the onion is nicely caramelized (if you need add a little oil to the skillet). Add the thyme leaves and the cherry tomatoes and cook a few more minutes. (NOTE 2)
- Add water, cream and orzo and cook until orzo is al dente.
- Add baby kale and cream cheese and mix until kale is wilted. (NOTE 3)
- Add the grated Parmesan cheese and taste; add salt and pepper if needed. Return salmon to skillet and cover until warm.
- Transfer to plates and sprinkle with thyme leaves. (NOTE 2)
- Cook salmon skin-side down on high heat until the skin is crispy. This takes about 3 minutes. You know when the salmon is ready to be turned when the flesh turns from translucent pink to opaque along the sides and starts to move towards the top. The cooking time depends very much on the thickness of the fish fillets.
- If you don’t have thyme handy, try sage, parsley, oregano.
- Instead of kale, you can use arugula, spinach, collard greens, mustard greens, lettuce.