Friday, February 11, 2011

Giada's Salmon Baked in Foil & Saffron Harvest Grains: A Little Healthy Amore

This week's theme at I Heart Cooking Clubs is "That's Amore!" Showing love through food, Whether it is love for your significant other, your family, friends or even yourself, you can show no greater love than feeding someone with food that is healthy, colorful and appealing to look at, and of course--tastes great. Giada's Salmon Baked in Foil, served with her Saffron Orzo, covers all the bases.

Both dishes go together quickly and easily and the colorful combination of the orangey-pink salmon, red tomatoes and green herbs, combined with the sunny yellow saffron orzo (or in this case I used my favorite Trader Joe's Harvest Grains Blend, full of Israeli couscous, orzo, red quinoa and split garbanzo beans), is gorgeous. Served with a simple green salad it makes a healthy dinner that says I love you with great flavor and plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids, lean protein, fiber, and assorted vitamins and minerals--good for the the body and the heart. Now That's Amore! ;-)

You can find the salmon recipe at Food Network here.

Salmon Baked in Foil
Courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis
(Serves 4)

4 (5 ounces each) salmon fillets
2 teaspoons olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tomatoes, chopped, or 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, drained
2 chopped shallots
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Sprinkle salmon with 2 teaspoons olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir the tomatoes, shallots, 2 tablespoons of oil, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.

Place a salmon fillet, oiled side down, atop a sheet of foil. Wrap the ends of the foil to form a spiral shape. Spoon the tomato mixture over the salmon. Fold the sides of the foil over the fish and tomato mixture, covering completely; seal the packets closed. Place the foil packet on a heavy large baking sheet. Repeat until all of the salmon have been individually wrapped in foil and placed on the baking sheet. Bake until the salmon is just cooked through, about 25 minutes. Using a large metal spatula, transfer the foil packets to plates and serve.

You can find the Saffron Orzo recipe at the bottom of the page here.

Saffron Orzo
Giada De Laurentiis
(Serves 6)

4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 pound dried orzo (or pasta or grain of choice)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I used about 1/8 cup)
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

In a large pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, bringing the stock to a simmer. Add the saffron, stir, and allow the saffron to bloom, about 5 minutes. Return the heat to medium and the stock to a boil, then add the orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain orzo and transfer to a large bowl. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and parsley. Toss to combine.

Notes/Results: Delicious. The salmon cooked in its individual foil packets is moist, tender and well flavored with the tomato, scallions, lemon and herbs. Giada recommends opening the foil packets on individual plates at the table--which is always fun, but I think it looks so pretty served right on top of the saffron grains that I unwrapped it and put it on the plate. Just be sure to pour all the juices on top so you don't waste the flavor. The Harvest Grains Blend cooked up perfectly with the chicken stock and saffron. The lemon and olive oil (BTW: I reduced the amount of oil in mine), add nice flavor, making this a great side dish for fish or chicken. I really liked both of these dishes and would happily make both again.

You can check out how the other IHCC participants are showing their amore by going to the post here and following the links.

These healthy, tasty dishes are going to Roz's Fresh & Pure Friday event at la bella vita, where you will see some wonderful food and great ideas. Stop by and check it out.

Happy Weekend!


  1. Oh delicious, Deb - I love salmon (probably my favourite fish), and I really like the idea of serving it on top of the saffron grains - that grain combo sounds fantastic.
    Definitely a whole lot of heart healthy love going on there.
    Sue :-)

  2. I've made the salmon wrapped in foil before and it is one of my favorite salmon recipes of all time! Plus, did you know that salmon is an aphrodisiac? So it is PERFECT for this week's theme!

  3. It does look beautiful on the plate like that! Salmon is so good many ways. I'll have to try it this way! The mixed grains sound wonderful too...perfect meal!

  4. Love this combination of flavours.

    Lovely tasty dinner!

  5. The color in this dish is stunning! And I like that you didn't waste the juices ;-)

  6. The saffron orzo is a luxurious idea! It must go well with any seafood, especially a brightly flavored salmon like this one.

  7. Wow. Everything about this sounds good!

  8. What a good combo. I've been slackin' in Giada but have had some things going on. Looking forward to trying your slamon dish here though.

  9. Looks great! I am always looking for news ways to cook salmon!

  10. The entire meal looks wonderful! I love the idea of cooking the salmon in packets - where they can't help but be infused with all those delicious flavors!

  11. looks so good always enjoy salmon recipes

  12. I love baked salmon and always looking for new ways to cook it. I will be adding this to my bookmarked recipes - thanks Deb! :)

  13. Sue--thanks! I love salmon too. ;-)

    Joanne--it is good isn't it?! Didn't know that about salmon too. ;-)

    Lyndsey--thanks! This is an easy, flavorful way to cook salmon. ;-)

    Brownieville Girl--thank you! ;-)

    Michelle--thanks! You can't waste the juices--too much flavor. ;-)

    Christine--I love saffron with any seafood--so good and so colorful.


    Pierce--thank you. I hope things get better for you soon. Thinking of you.

    Michelle--thank you! This is a great, simple way. ;-)

    Reeni--thanks! It makes it easy and very tasty too. ;-)

    Rebecca--thank you! ;-)

    Janet--I hope you like it--it's so easy and good. ;-)

  14. Deb - This is definitely a beautiful meal that screams amore. Although I haven't tried this particular recipe I have had salmon baked in foil and I LOVE it. You just can't beat how moist and tender it bakes up.

    Looks very pretty!

  15. I would definitely love anyone who served this delicious, nutritious and very inviting meal to me!


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