Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Basil-Seared Salmon with Vegetable Orzo

A couple of weeks ago I took the kids to our local Rainforest Cafe for a bit of a treat. While I really wasn't expecting to be wowed by the food there, it came as a pleasant surprise when they served up a delicious basil-seared salmon with one of the best tasting orzos I've ever had. My taste buds immediately went into overdrive as I tried to deconstruct the recipe with each bite. By the end of the meal I had managed to narrow down the basic components but was still missing a few I'd need to recreate the dish. As usual, quick google search solved all my problems. Turns out, the basil-salmon at Rainforest cafe is so popular that their chefs had whipped it up for daytime tv.

My version is quite close to the original with some minor tweaks. I've made a few substitutions to better suit homecooking (who has lobster broth just lying around?) and additional seasoning to kick things up a notch. This dish is not only delicious and healthy but takes less than 30 minutes to make. Best thing is, my kids absolutely eat it up and that rarely ever happens.

Basil-Seared Salmon with Vegetable Orzo and Crispy Salmon Skin

1 piece fresh salmon
4 basil leaves (or enough to coat salmon)
1/8 tsp cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 oz. olive oil
dash of Mediterranean seasoning (optional)

1 tomato diced
1 zucchini chopped 
1/2 red bell pepper chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper chopped
1/2 small onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 lb orzo pre-cooked
4oz. clam juice
1 tbsp chopped basil
pinch of salt and black pepper
1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese to serve

1. Bring large pot of water to boil, add orzo, cook till al dente, drain and set aside. 
2. Remove salmon skin and rub salmon with sea salt, fresh cracked pepper and/or additional seasoning of your choice. Season salmon skin with a pinch of sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.
3. Lay basil leaves over non-skin side, heat non-stick pan and add olive oil. 
4. Gently lay salmon with basil side down onto the hot pan and sear for approx. 2 minutes (depending on thickness of fish). Flip salmon and sear the other side for 2 minutes. Transfer to 450F degree oven and continue cooking for approx. 4 minutes. 
5. Sear salmon skin in same pan over medium-low heat until crispy.
6. Using the same pan, remove excess oil. Add fresh olive oil and brown garlic and onions till fragrant.
7. Add vegetables to pan and continue cooking till almost cooked through. Add orzo pasta and clam juice, continue to simmer till broth is reduced by 50%.
8. Stir in chopped basil, salt and pepper and parmesan cheese. 
9. Serve with crispy salmon skin on the side.

* recipe adapted from Rainforest Cafe's original 


Jeans and a Teacup said...

Yumm! I loooove salmon so finding a new recipe is always great!
Jeans and a Teacup

Simona said...

I am cooking myself right now, and hungry, and this put me over the edge. I make salmon a few times a week and will try this recipe for sure. Pinning it!

Anonymous said...

This looks incredibly delicious! I would have ordered this too. Beautiful photos.


Always Maylee said...

I used to love the Rainforest Cafe! Yum, this looks awesome. Now I know what I'm going to make you cook for me. :)

xo, Yi-chia
Always Maylee

A Very Sweet Blog said...

Jenee, it looks so good! HAHAHA Thanks for the recipe!

Kate said...

wow that looks so delicious:)
xx Kate

The Style Department

The Dragonfruit said...

Since I can't eat fish (allergic, sadly -_- ) I will show this recipe to my parents! Haha, because it still looks delicious :)

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Marisa @ Broke with Designer Taste said...

This looks delicious! I think I need to try and attempt to make it.


Unknown said...

ahhh i LOVE salmon.....this looks so delicious i might have to try it!!!!! thank you for recreating it :)
brooke @ what2wear

Jacquishi said...

Great looking recipe i must try!!!

fabulouspetite said...

Oh so yummy.....Great minds think alike. We had almost the same recipe over the weekend. I love salmon and orzo are favorites in our house. My orzo recipe has an olive oil and lemon juice dressing which I added a sauteed shrimp and fresh corn to it. for the veggies I added cucumber and grape tomatoes. The recipe calls for feta cheese but my husband and son does not like the cheese. I will definitely try this pairings too and I am sure we will love it.


Alyssa said...

This looks SO yummy...and healthy! I love orzo, and salmon is always (always) a win in my book!

The Glossy Life

from prosecco to plaid said...

This looks absolutely delicious!! xo, Julie

Mrs C said...

Wow, this looks like restaurant cooked meal! Fabulous! Thanks for sharing, will definitely bookmark this recipe!

Greetings from Dubai!

Unknown said...

I was actually looking for a new salmon recipe. Perfect!


glamoroza said...

Oh! Looks so delicious! I love salmon, I gotta try this recipe! :)


Emily {Isnt That Charming} said...

This sounds delicious! And healthy - a double bonus.
Isn’t That Charming.

Natalie said...

This looks so delicious1 I am hungry now haha

Anonymous said...

Oh my! This looks incredible! I will cook this tonight and see how it turns out!


Bhushavali said...

Looks yummy!!! May be I should try a veggie version of it! :)
Have a look at my blog too doll!

Anonymous said...

Now I want salmon. Yumm.... looks amazing!
Xo Inna

Closet Fashionista said...

Wow, that looks delicious!!

Tania said...

The Rainforest Cafe--haven't been there in ages!! I used to be so obsessed! But I definitely can't remember if the food was very good. I don't think the kid version of myself was a very discerning eater at any rate. I've definitely got to try this recipe or revisit the restaurant!!! It looks so yummy!



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