Love is in the air! (part two)
Valentine’s Day is creeping ever closer, and today it's time for main course: Pumpkin and Edamame Salad with Miso Dressing and Sesame-Crusted Salmon (you can find part one, Classic Potato Gnocchi with Basil Walnut Pesto here). Salmon to me is always sexy; it’s smooth and creamy, and not too fishy. It holds its shape beautifully when cooked and stands up perfectly when paired with robust side dishes like this salad. Plus it’s also one of the things I only make when the kids are out (suckers!), so it automatically makes me think “adult dish”.
If you’ve never had miso before: it’s a paste made from fermented soy beans popular in Japanese cooking, and it imparts a nice salty/savoury flavour to dishes. If you’re miso-mad you could also smear the pumpkin wedges with miso before roasting (that in itself would be a delicious side dish) but I chose to keep it to the dressing only to make sure it wasn’t too over-powering for miso-newbies.
The pumpkin needs time to roast, but the miso dressing can be made a few days in advance, so the salad can then be thrown together and finished off while the salmon is cooking and resting. This means there’s only a few minutes of active prep to have the whole dish ready to go, and you look like a superstar. Salmon is best cooked medium rare, but if you’re pregnant or just like your fish more on the well done side then simply cook the fillet for a little longer. As salmon is an oily fish it’s a little more forgiving when it comes to over-cooking.
The dish is high in protein and healthy fats to leave you satisfied but not feeling heavy; after all, you have to leave room for dessert! It would also be delicious made with firm marinated tofu instead of salmon if you’re catering for a vegan/vegetarian, or chicken or pork fillets if fish isn’t your thing. It's a sophisticated and healthy way to impress your special someone.
Pumpkin Edamame Miso Salad with Sesame Salmon
1 red chilli with seeds, finely chopped
1 & 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp white miso
1 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/4 tsp grated ginger
1/4 small Japanese pumpkin
1 tsp olive oil
2 small salmon fillets
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup edamame beans
1 spring onion, finely sliced
Lime wedges, to serve
1) To make dressing: combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Alternatively, place all ingredients in a small screw-top jar and shake well until combined. Set aside.
2) Preheat oven to 220 degrees C. Slice pumpkin into wedges and brush with olive oil, then roast for 25 minutes or until golden and caramelised.
3) Meanwhile, brush salmon fillets (flesh side if skin on) with sesame oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds, pressing down to help the seeds stick.
4) Heat a frypan over medium heat and cook salmon, sesame seeds down, for 3-5 minutes or until seeds are golden. Flip salmon and cook on opposite side for another 3-5 minutes or until cooked to your liking. Set aside to rest.
5) Combine quinoa, edamame, spring onions in a bowl with 1 tbsp of the dressing.
6) Divide the quinoa among plates and top with pumpkin wedges, then drizzle with more dressing. Serve with salmon and a lime wedge.
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