Simple and super fresh, this one-bowl meal fulfills every summertime dinner craving we’ve been having lately. When it’s 10000% humidity and approximately a hundred-million degrees outside, the number of foods that seem at all appealing definitely narrows. But even if we’d like to be mostly made of ice cream right about now, it’s probably not a great idea. So, behold! One of our favorite hot weather meals: the grain bowl. A little protein, some grains, a heap of our favorite refreshing summer vegetables, and a citrusy vinaigrette with herbs hits the spot like nothing else when you’re hungry but you’re also actually concerned that you’re on the verge of turning into an Alex Mack-style puddle.
A few great things about one-bowl meals like this one:
1. Everything goes in—yes!—one bowl. We like being able to mix everything up together and we also like having fewer dishes to clean. One bowl also means it’s a whole lot easier to transport outside and balance on your lap while sitting on stoops/lawns/fences/canoes.
2. They make equally great take-to-work lunches and picnics because you can just throw everything in one container.
3. You can change them up any way you like AND use up whatever good stuff you’ve got in your fridge/pantry in the process. Extra bonus points for this during the summertime since using up all of your perishables is the name of the pre-vacation kitchen game. No one likes being welcomed home by Mystery Smelly Fridge Surprise.
A few things about our ingredient choices. We love farro—an ancient grain that’s nutty and toothsome with great chew—and we seriously recommend giving it a try if you’ve never had it. You’ll find yourself using it in place of rice, quinoa, you name it. But, if you don’t have any or aren’t into it, you can swap in the grain of your choice.
Same goes for the vegetables and the vinaigrette. The grain bowl is a great base to play around with, so whatever you’re in the mood for, go for. This time of year, we like produce that’s juicy, snappy, bright, refreshing, and preferably as technicolored as possible. Radishes, fennel, lemon, herbs, radicchio, tomatoes, scallions—all awesome options. Other great additions would be sugar snap peas (we’re eating these by the handful lately), oranges, avocado, and all manners of greens. As for the dressing, soy sauce, sesame oil, cider/red wine/balsamic vinegar, and even plain yogurt with some lemon and herbs—all delicious. But with all the chives we’ve got taking over our vegetable patch and our ever-present lemon lust, Lemon Chive Vinaigrette has July Dressing of Choice written all over it.
One of our favorite hot weather proteins is fish, and we especially love salmon—the wild caught kind is one of the healthiest things you can eat and it’s so tasty, too. Plus, in this particular recipe, its color is insanely gorgeous against the purples and greens of the vegetables. Have a look. Who doesn’t want to eat this, even on a sweltering summer evening or afternoon?
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Grilled Salmon Grain Bowl
– 4 salmon filets, about 6 oz each
– 4 cloves garlic mashed and chopped
– 3 scallions, green and white parts chopped
– 6 tbs lemon juice (usually 2 large lemons)
– zest of 2 large lemons
– 6 tbs olive oil
– 4 tbs chives, chopped
– black pepper to taste
– 1 cup farro
– 2 tbs fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
– 4 radishes, thinly sliced
– 1/4 head of radicchio, cut into ribbons
– 1/2 bulb of fennel, cut into batons + handful of fennel fronds, chopped
– 2 large tomatoes, chopped
– 2 scallions, green and white parts chopped
* Whisk/mix together all marinade ingredients in a shallow baking dish. Add salmon, make sure to coat both sides. Cover dish with plastic wrap and let the fish marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes, or in the refrigerator for up to an hour. If you go the refrigerator route, you’ll want to bring the fish to room temperature before grilling for even cooking.
* Cut up your vegetables and make the salad dressing. Cook the farro according to directions on your package. Drain and set aside in a large bowl.
* When the farro has cooled, add radicchio, fennel, tomatoes, and most of the Lemon Chive Vinaigrette (see recipe below), reserving a little for drizzling over the final bowls.
* Once the salmon is done marinating, heat your grill (whether stove top, charcoal, or gas) to medium high heat.
* When you’re ready to get grilling, dip a folded paper towel in oil that’s good for high-heat cooking, such as avocado, peanut, or canola oil, and using tongs brush your grill with the oil-soaked paper towel.
* Immediately place your fish, skin-side down, on top of the greased area to grill. If you’re using a charcoal or gas grill, make sure you’re placing the fish over direct heat. Once you’ve set the filets down, resist the urge to scoot them around—just let them cook—the skin will crisp up.
* Cook until the salmon until it is opaque about a quarter of an inch up from the bottom.
* Gently lift the fillets with a spatula and brush the grate with oil again, this time over indirect heat. Carefully turn the salmon over and set it back down on the grill. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until fish is done. (FDA recommends cooking to an internal temperature of 145° F at the salmon’s thickest part.)
* Divide your farro-vegetable mixture among your 4 bowls.
* Set one filet right on top .
* Sprinkle with radishes, scallions, parsley, fennel fronds, and another drizzle of the vinaigrette. Serve!
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Lemon Chive Dressing
– 5 tbs olive oil
– 3 tbs lemon juice
– 2 tbs chives, finely chopped
– 1 tsp Dijon mustard
– Salt and black pepper to taste
* Add ingredients to a small bowl and whisk, or to a jar and shake.
* Taste for seasoning. Drizzle on grain bowls, salads, fish, vegetables, etc etc and so on.
© 2015 Lee and Lou Cook. All rights reserved