A healthy delicious dinner that comes together in less than 30 minutes! The relish takes simple salmon to dinner party status!
Do you ever find yourself siding with, identifying with or feeling sorry for the underdog?
Underdog – it’s a funny word, isn’t it? The definition is, “someone who’s not expected to win”. Did you know that there are underdogs in the culinary world too? Certain foods and ingredients that are overlooked and/or just not thought of as stellar. To me, parsley is a poster child for an underdog in the herb world. Her more popular sisters, basil, thyme and rosemary tend to get all the accolades and attention, while parsley is utilized mostly as a unimaginative garnish.
A friend and I were having an email conversation about fresh herbs a few month ago. Which ones I used most, did I grow them all year long, etc. One of her statements was: “Fresh parsley is used just as color as far as I am concerned. I find it has little flavor but great looking…..sort of like the so-called dumb blonde.”
I had to laugh at her humorous description, although I believe it’s a fairly common sentiment. My description of parsley is a bit different. I think of her more as an unloved, unappreciated stepdaughter, or (even more accurate, to me) an undiscovered jewel.
Yes, parsley is most often used and thought of solely as a garnish, but it has has lots of other wonderful attributes. It’s hue is vibrant and the curly variety is quite whimsical in texture. It has a bright, fresh, slightly peppery flavor and is a very hearty herb that has much less tendency to wilt and/or turn brown than the more beloved basil, thyme and rosemary. Parsley is inexpensive and is readily available all year round. To me, it seems to bring out the flavor of other herbs when paired with them.
Growing up, my mom always used parsley to spiff up a bowl of potato salad or add a bit of color to a plate of deviled eggs, but I can still hear her saying, at the end of a meal, “Eat your parsley, it’s a blood purifier!” We used to laugh at this repetitious statement but guess what? Mom was right! Not only does parsley have nutritional value in the form of minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients, it also is an incredible source of iron and vitamin K — two nutrients important for healthy blood!
There are two distinct types of parsley; curly and flat leaf. In the summer, we grow both types in a big pot and they get along like best friends. The flat leaf variety is not as hearty as it’s curly sibling, but is delicious and used often in Italian dishes. In fact, sometimes it’s called Italian parsley. Recipes often call for simply “parsley” and, though they can be used fairly interchangeably, their flavors are not identical.
The recipe I’m sharing today is the perfect example of how parsley can be the star of the show. It’s a simple combination of parsley (lots of it), fresh pineapple, diced, dried cranberries, garlic and lemon zest. There’s a splash of fresh lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil to tie it all together. This time, I spooned the relish over a simple pan roasted salmon, but it’s also wonderful with chicken, shrimp, fish, etc.
I’ve been making this delicious relish for years now, but just recently added diced, fresh pineapple. I love the touch of sweetness it adds as well as the visual appeal. Raisins or dried currants can be used instead of cranberries, but I really like the little flecks of bright red color and the tartness provided by the dried cranberries.
The salmon? Super simple. Seasoned with just salt and pepper, the salmon is sautéed in a hot skillet till golden, then flipped and cooked just a few more minutes. This is a great recipe for serving guests as it takes only minutes to cook the salmon just before serving.
I like to serve this Pan Roasted Salmon with Parsley Pineapple Relish with jasmine or basmati rice, but mashed potatoes or pasta would also be nice. I don’t worry about serving a veggie as there’s so much freshness and great nutrition in the relish.
Don’t worry, it’s okay that for all these years, you’ve thought of parsley as a culinary underdog. I think this dish will change your mind and you’ll agree that, when combined with just a few other simple ingredients, parsley can be a delicious winner. Try it, it’s perfect for an easy, week night dinner but also elegant and pretty enough for company! Bon Appetit!
Pan Roasted Salmon with Parsley Pineapple Relish
Pan Roasted Salmon with Parsley Pineapple Relish – a healthy delicious dinner that comes together in less than 30 minutes! The relish takes simple salmon to dinner party status!
- For the relish:
- 1 ½ cups fairly finely chopped curly leaf parsley
- ½ cup diced fresh pineapple
- 1 medium clove garlic
- ¼ cup roughly chopped, dried cranberries
- finely chopped lemon zest*, from 1 medium size lemon
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- For the salmon:
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 skinless salmon fillets, (6 ounces each)
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cups cooked jasmine rice
- For the relish, combine all ingredients except the lemon juice and olive oil in a medium size bowl. Set aside.
- For the salmon, combine the sugar salt and pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle the salmon evenly on both sides with the sugar/salt mixture.
- Heat the 2 teaspoons of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place the salmon in the pan. Cook until golden brown on one side, about 3-4 minutes. Turn to opposite side and cook until salmon feels firm to the touch, about 3-4 minutes more, depending on thickness of fillets
- To serve, divide rice between 4 dinner plates or large shallow bowls. Add salmon.
- Add lemon juice and olive oil to the prepared relish. Stir well to combine. Spoon relish over salmon and rice. Drizzle with a little more good quality olive oil, if desired. Serve with lemon wedges.
* For this recipe, I like to peel the lemon with a vegetable peeler (being careful to just remove the yellow peel and avoid the white pith) then finely chop with a knife, rather than using a zester. It just makes a prettier relish.