Sesame Crusted Salmon Nicoise Salad

sesame crusted nicoise salad The weather is warming up and this is one of my favorite meals to make for lunch or dinner, a sesame crusted salmon Nicoise salad. It’s chock full of everything good with a little twist on the classic.

sesame crusted salmon Instead of using tuna as in the classic French version I replaced it with sesame crusted salmon. The crunchy sesame seeds pair perfectly with the rich, buttery flavor of the salmon, a nice contrast in taste and texture.

I like to mix together the black sesame seeds with the toasted ones, it gives such a nice crunch factor.

sesame crusted salmon salad

When composing a salad like this you’ll have to prep a few things ahead of time, blanch your asparagus, hard boil some eggs and roast up some tiny potatoes, everything else is a piece of cake and a matter of arranging it all onto a nice big platter.

The more colors the better, I like using rainbow colored cherry tomatoes, peppers and fingerling potatoes and the pretty pink color of the salmon will just set the whole dish off.

This meal is simple for weeknights and elegant enough for entertaining, its fun to eat and fun to make, you need this salad in your life!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Sesame Crusted Salmon Nicoise Salad
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 or 2, 6 oz. portions of salmon
  • 1 heaping tablespoon each of black sesame seeds and toasted sesame seeds per portion, if using 2 portions you'll need 2 tablespoons each.
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cooked then tossed in a little lemon olive oil
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • red onion
  • nicoise or kalamata olives, pitted
  • colored fingerling potatoes or small red
  • sliced Persian cucumbers (they're small)
  • colored baby peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • rainbow colored cherry tomatoes
  • sweet cherry peppers
  • a few Calabrian chili peppers for heat
  • arugula to line the platter
  • USE AS MUCH OR AS LITTLE AS YOU WANT WITH ABOVE INGREDIENTS
Instructions
  1. To prepare the salmon, preheat oven to 450F then line a small sheet pan with foil, drizzled with olive oil on the bottom.
  2. Mix the two different sesame seeds together and place into a flat dish.
  3. Salt and pepper your salmon portions and then press the tops only of the salmon into the seeds, they will stick very easily onto the salmon.
  4. Place salmon seed side up onto the prepared pan, then drizzle olive oil on each portion.
  5. Bake salmon for twelve minutes, then take it out of the oven and let it rest.
  6. Prepare the asparagus by blanching for two to three minutes in boiling water, remove with tongs then place into an ice bath to stop the cooking.
  7. Gently toss the asparagus in a store bought lemon olive oil, or a homemade version.
  8. Prepare the potatoes by roasting in a 400F oven tossed in olive oil with salt and pepper until tender and golden brown.
  9. Have your hard boiled eggs cooked and ready to go.
  10. Layer arugula on the bottom of a platter, place the salmon in the center, breaking it apart slightly.
  11. Arrange all the other ingredients in groups all around the platter making sure you salt the tomatoes and give them a little drizzle of olive oil as well.
  12. ENJOY!

 

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Spring Pasta Salad

spring pasta salad

Here’s a pasta salad that features all the flavors of spring including fresh asparagus, baby zucchini, arugula, artichoke hearts, colorful cherry tomatoes, peas and fresh herbs. It’s light, healthy and just perfect for spring!

You can enjoy this spring pasta salad as a main dish by maybe adding some grilled shrimp to it or as a side dish for any party you might be having. Mother’s Day is right around the corner and this would be a nice option for a salad.
farfalloni pasta What really inspired me for this salad was this pasta shape that I found called farfalloni, it reminded me of fluttering butterfies, so cute with the rounded edges. I actually found this at my local HomeGoods store in their gourmet food section.

Years ago I did another spring inspired pasta salad with this pasta shape that I found there as well.

farfalloni pasta The key to a good pasta salad is to make sure your pasta isn’t overcooked, you don’t want it to be soft and mushy, it has to have a nice bite to it so it can hold up to all the veggies that you’re adding. My advice is to start testing it two minutes before the suggested cooking time, you’ll be the best judge by giving it a taste test.

spring pasta salad I’m going to be giving you approximate amounts because when making a pasta salad I always add more or less of something according to my likes and according to how it looks on my platter.

spring pasta salad

You’re zucchini ribbons will soften and bend once the dressing is applied so you can easily intertwine them throughout the pasta salad for an pretty and elegant look.

Spring is here, enjoy!

You can follow Proud Italian Cook on Instagram to see what I’m cooking up, I usually post something daily.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Spring Pasta Salad
 
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Ingredients
  • 8 oz. of cooked farfalloni pasta, (or farfalle pasta better known as bow ties or butterflies) being careful not to overcook it, once cooked cool it off with cold water then place onto a rimmed cookie sheet so that you can dab any excess water that might fall into the pasta "wings" with a paper towel
  • ½ jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • ¼ bag of defrosted peas
  • 2 cups of sliced multi colored cherry tomatoes prepped for ten minutes in a good drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper and chopped basil so that the tomato juices and olive oil mingle together
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, ( I prefer a more medium tip not the pencil thin ones) sliced in thirds and pre roasted or blanched for just a few minutes, cooked al'dente with still a bite to it
  • zucchini ribbons done with a vegetable peeler, turning it while peeling it being careful not to reach the seeds. ( use small zucchini)
  • 1 or 2 handfuls of arugula, depending on your liking
  • fresh basil and parsley
  • DRESSING:
  • 1 part white balsamic vinegar to 3 parts olive oil with a touch of dijon mustard to thicken it up, just whisk everything together adding salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Take a big bowl and place all your ingredients into it, spooning the dressing in little by little and adding salt and pepper to taste and being nice and gentle tossing it.
  2. Then place it all onto a pretty platter adding more zucchini ribbons, peas, artichoke hearts or whatever else to make it look balanced with the veggies.
  3. Spoon more dressing if needed.

 

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Creamy Lemon Chicken Thighs with Peas

chicken thighs If your looking for a dish that’s full of flavor, easy to prepare and only uses one pan, this creamy lemon chicken thighs recipe is the one for you. It’s the perfect weeknight meal that tastes like you spent hours cooking it.

Crispy, deep golden chicken thighs sitting in a sauce of creamy, zesty lemon that’s topped off with sweet peas.

Oh, and did I mention what a luscious combination cream and lemon is?

chicken thighs

The ingredient list may be short but the flavors are big and you’ll get this on your table in no time!

This just might be your new go to dish, enjoy!

Follow Proud Italian Cook on Instagram to see what else I’m cooking up during the week.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Creamy Lemon Chicken Thighs with Peas
 
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Ingredients
  • 4 bone in, skin on chicken thighs, preferably organic
  • 2 tablespoons butter, salted
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon
  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • frozen peas, a cup or so depending on your liking
  • fresh parley and lemon slices for garnish
Instructions
  1. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. In a skillet with medium heat melt the butter then add in the chicken thighs skin side down searing them to a deep golden brown, don't flip them until they reach that color.
  3. When deep color is reached flip them over and cook for 2 more minutes on the other side, then remove and set aside.
  4. If too much grease is left drain the pan and add a little bit more butter.
  5. Add the 2 cloves of garlic and cook until light golden then add in the broth, zest, lemon juice and then finally the cream.
  6. Reduce to a simmer then add the chicken thighs back in along with the frozen peas, simmering until chicken is fully cooked and cream has thickened up.
  7. Garnish with chopped parsley and lemon slices.

 

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