Roasted Salmon with Quinoa and Carrot Oil

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

These golden-brown seared and roasted fillets are especially good set atop a bed of grains, which adds contrasting flavors and textures to each mouthful, My choice here is super-nutritious quinoa mixed with pine nuts, diced mushrooms, onions, and carrots. Quinoa served this way is so delicious that it doesn’t shout “health food.” The carrot oil is luminous orange, with a concentrated carrot flavor. The dish looks especially pretty if you pack the quinoa into a 3-inch around ring mold, remove the mold, and place the fish on top of the grain. If you don’t want to fire up your oven, you can skip the roasting and simply sear this salmon, taking a little longer to cook it through on top of the stove.


Order of preparation:

• Prepare the Carrot Oil.

• Start the-quinoa. While the quinoa is simmering, sear and roast the salmon.

Make-ahead notes:

• The Carrot Oil can be refrigerated up to 2 days; bring to room temperature before serving.

• The quinoa can be refrigerated up to 5 days; rewarm over low heat or in a microwave, with a bit of stock.

Makes4 servings

Cooking Methodpan-frying


Total Timeunder 1 hour

OccasionCooking for a date, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, healthy, kosher, low carb, peanut free, soy free



Taste and Texturechewy, crisp, light, nutty, savory, sweet, tangy, umami


  • 4 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into brunoise
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, diced fine
  • ½ cup finely diced domestic or shiitake mushrooms
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 1 cup Chicken Stock, low-salt canned chicken broth, or Vegetable Stock, plus a bit extra, if needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • 4 salmon fillets, 6 ounces each
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup Carrot Oil


  1. For the quinoa:

  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the pine nuts on a baking sheet in 1 layer and toast until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Chop medium-coarse and reserve.

  3. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat until almost smoking and sauté the onion for 1 minute. Add the carrots and the mushrooms and sauté 1 minute. Add the quinoa and Sauté 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes, adding extra stock if it dries out. Transfer to a strainer if there is excess liquid, then return to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and stir in the nuts and parsley. Reserve, keeping warm.

  4. For the salmon:

  5. If you are going to finish the salmon in the oven, preheat to 400°F. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the salmon flesh-side down and sear 3 to 4 minutes, add the butter, turn over the fish, and cook another 3 to 4 minutes on the other side. Or sear flesh-side down, then place in the preheated oven until medium rare, about 5 minutes. Then add butter and sear the other side until brown. Remove from the pan.

  6. To serve:

  7. Mound about ½ cup of quinoa in the center of each warm serving plate. Place a portion of salmon on top of the quinoa and drizzle the carrot oil around the salmon.

  8. Good, chewy substitutes for quinoa:

  9. Wild Rice with Pine Nuts or Curried Couscous

  10. Substitutes for carrot oil:

  11. Basil Oil, Curry Oil--especially nice if you substitute curried couscous--Beet Oil, or Roasted Garlic-Black Olive Oil

  12. For the fish, substitute boneless, skinless chicken breasts.


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