In trying to stick to my resolution to cook more salmon I was looking for something a little different and fun. To my surprise, I stumbled across two different recipes involving salmon and grapefruit. "Is that a thing?" I wondered, "A common pairing?" I had never thought of it before. I decided to take elements from both recipes to make one complete meal.
The pairing was perfect - bright and fresh and light. In the picture you can see some white substance on the salmon - you may have seen this before and wondered what it was. It is a protein called albumin and it appears when the fish is not cooked gently enough (it is the same protein that is in egg whites). Some people think it is really unappealing but I don't mind it so much, it can take moisture out of the fish though. So if you find this happening when you cook fish, reduce the temperature and extend the cooking time. You can also brine the fish beforehand to reduce the appearance of albumin.
For the grapefruit oil:
1 medium grapefruit
8 thin slices fresh ginger
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the salmon:
4 skinless salmon fillets, 5-6 oz each
1 tbsp minced shallot
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
2 1/2 tsp honey
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp thinly sliced basil leaves
For the salad:
3/4 cup couscous or quinoa
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp honey
2 scallions (both white and green parts), minced
2 tbsp sliced basil
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Make the oil: Strip the peel from the grapefruit with a vegetable peeler, taking care not to include the bitter white pith. Warm the grapefruit peel, ginger, and olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. As soon as the oil starts to bubble, after about 2 minutes, remove from heat. Set the oil aside to steep for 30 minutes. Strain and reserve the oil.
Make the salmon: Season the salmon with 1/4 teaspoon salt, drizzle with 1 tbsp of the grapefruit oil, place in a baking dish and roast until cooked through, about 18 minutes (See note on cooking temp/time above).
While the salmon is cooking prepare the sauce. Cut 1 of the grapefruits into sections by cutting off the top and bottom of the fruit, then standing it on 1 end, cut down the skin to remove the pith and peel. Then, with a paring knife, remove each segment of fruit from its casing and cut the segments in half. Set the segment pieces aside. Juice the other grapefruit and set the juice aside.
In a medium skillet, heat 1 tbsp grapefruit oil over a medium heat. Add the shallot and saute until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the ginger, grapefruit juice, and honey and bring to simmer. Cook until sauce is reduced by about half (10 minutes). Add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Right before serving, toss the grapefruit pieces and basil into the sauce. Put the salmon onto a serving dish. Spoon sauce over the salmon and serve.
Make the salad: Cook the couscous or quinoa according to package directions. Transfer to a bowl and fluff with a fork.
Segment the grapefruit over a bowl, reserving the segments and juice separately. Whisk 3 tablespoons of the grapefruit juice with the vinegar, honey, and salt to taste in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in 3 tablespoons of the reserved grapefruit oil, starting with a few drops and then adding the rest in a stream to make a slightly thick dressing. Season with pepper to taste.
Toss couscous or quinoa with the dressing, scallions, grapefruit segments, and basil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with the fish.