Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Apricot Glazed Salmon with Butternut Squash Risotto and Roasted Asparagus

First off, you may be wondering where salmon comes into play in a food blog that is primarily vegan. I say, it's all about balance.

Awhile ago I discussed my occasional love for seafood. I've been known to grill up a salmon fillet or two, bake some cod, stir fry some shrimp, or belly up to the sushi bar with a few friends and a black lacquered boat full of raw goodness.

The one thing I do make certain of when buying seafood is that it's fresh and it's caught as sustainably as possible. The good folks at Whole Foods do an excellent job at making sure their fish meets these standards, and that is why I buy all of my seafood from them.

Simply put, if you're going to eat fish (or any type of meat for that matter) know where it's coming from and how it got from it's home to your plate.

Moving on.

One of my favorite things to do is to watch Rachel Ray and find a way to rip off her recipes and make them something that I can eat.

A few months ago Rachel made Apricot Glazed Chicken with Butternut Squash Risotto and Roasted Broccolini. Being that I am not a fan of eating chicken, and I don't use any butter or cheese in my cooking you would think this recipe would be a challenge.


As we learned earlier, the natural creaminess of risotto makes it easy to skip all the unnecessary butter and cheese that many recipes call for. So, while Rachel was busy loading on the artery clogging cholesterol, I was busy imagining myself bathing in a silken pool of butternut squash and sage.

Also, being I am not a fan of vegetable hybrids, I chose instead to serve this dish with grilled asparagus drizzled with olive oil and a touch of salt, pepper, and lemon zest.

About the glaze, if I remember right Rachel's recipe seemed a bit boring, so I decided to add a little kick to my glaze and chose to make one with a bit of ginger, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and a little honey. The sweetness of the glaze is a great compliment to the salmon and lets the flavor of the fish shine without being too heavy or overpowering.

All in all, my version of Rachel's meal turned out to not only be healthier, but also just as, if not more "delish" than the original.


Apricot Glazed Salmon
1 1/2 cups apricot nectar (juice)
1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Lowfat cooking spray

1 12-ounce fresh skinless salmon fillet, about an inch thick

1. In a small saucepan, stir in all ingredients for the glaze then bring to boiling at medium-high. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly oil your baking dish. Generously coat the salmon with some of the glaze and cook the fish 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. For the last five minutes place the fish under the broiler, turn on high and use a pastry brush to baste the fish with some of the apricot glaze every few minutes.
3. Serve salmon with glaze.

Butternut Squash Risotto
One 32-ounce container (4 cups) vegetable broth
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
One 12-ounce box frozen butternut squash puree, thawed
Salt and pepper
10 leaves fresh sage, slivered

1.In a large saucepan, bring the veggie broth and 1 cup water to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn the heat to low.

2.In a large skillet, heat the olive oil 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. When the oil is rippling, add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 2 minutes. Add the rice and toast for 3 minutes. Stir in the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until mostly evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.

3.Add 2 ladlefuls of the warm veggie broth to the rice and stir until the liquid evaporates. Repeat with the remaining broth, cooking the risotto until creamy, about 18 minutes. During the last 3 minutes of cooking, stir in the squash; season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Top with the sage.

**NOTE** This recipe makes a VERY large batch of risotto that is supposed to serve 6, so if you don't want to be eating risotto into 2011 you can halve this batch and it will be more than enough for two or even four people.


Steph said...

I'm SOOOOOOOOOOO making this this weekend!!

Sunfish said...

Ha ha, I made the artery clogging version of this for dinner on Saturday and just finished eating it today-you're not kidding about the size! I used fresh butternut squash that was grated and cooked in butter. Did the puree give it the creamy texture or is that a property of the rice itself? I need to learn to cook AND healthy :) Also do you notice a difference when you substitute veggie broth and do you have a favorite?

Jenni said...

I've found that cooking healthy comes with practice. The more you do it, the more you know what goes with what, what to substitute where and what works and what doesn't work.

The puree will definitely add to the creaminess, but the risotto is creamy on it's own.

As far as the broth, since I've been a vegetarian for so long, I've never used chicken broth, so I'm not sure of the difference. When I buy my veggie broth I buy either the Whole Foods or Trader Joe's brands (they are both organic) or when I'm not at either of those stores I just buy the organic brands.

Also, if you want to add a "cheesy" flavor to the risotto without the cheese, you can sprinkle some vegan parmesan over the top!

katty said...

This blog is wonderful and interesting, i really enjoyed reading!!! i must to say the apricot is delicious and contain many vitamin. That is why i prefer to eat it frequently. Actually when i bought my house through
costa rica homes for sale i didn´t see an apricot tree. Now i am really happy.