Salmon, Arugula and Couscous Salad

Salmon, arugula and couscous salad for dinner, or otherwise known as "the dinner that nobody ate".... yet. On Thursday night Austin had a four-hour swimming exam that started at 4:30 so around 3:30 I began preparing this meal so he could eat it early and have lots of energy for his long haul. But when he walked in from school, he informed me that it was way too early, mom, for kids to eat fish (apparently there's a rule that fish is only acceptable after 5:30 or 6:00) and that he'd prefer to go hungry than force this down. And so it went. One by one, they dropped like flies. Quentin was on his way to England, after a 14-hour delay at the airport due to weather and mechanical issues, so he wouldn't be my reliable and always-grateful guest at the table. Corbin was still lying on the couch, feeling unwell, as he has for most of the week, so the smell of salmon wasn't appealing to him and anyway, mom, we seem to eating a whole lot of salads lately so I'm not interested anyway. And Maddie was running up and down the street like a banshee, having water fights with her school buddies, and didn't make it back in until bedtime and with no appetite at all by that point. Probably full of popsicles and pink lemonade. That left me, who had a nibble of it (yummy) but decided to hold onto it until lunchtime on Friday and enjoy it then. And I fully intend to. My guess is that all moms have, at one time or another, had meals that have been picketed and this was my most recent one. At least I'm not alone.

serves 3

3/4-pound piece fresh salmon fillet, cut from the thick center portion, skinned, at room temperature
1 tablespoon olive oil for the fish and about a tablespoon for the pan
Juice from half a lemon
1 cup uncooked couscous
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
5 ounces baby arugula
1/2 cup sweet grape tomatoes
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic, red wine, or sherry vinegar
1 small shallot, minced

Rub the salmon with about a tablespoon of olive oil, and season both sides with salt and freshly ground pepper. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over high heat. When it's hot, add the salmon, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, then carefully turn over and cook for another 3 minutes. Transfer the salmon to a plate, squeeze a little lemon juice over the top, and cover loosely with foil.
In the meantime, bring 1 cup water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon butter to a boil in a small saucepan. Add couscous, stir quickly, cover, and take off the heat. Allow to rest for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.
In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, and minced shallot. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.
Put arugula in a large bowl. Drizzle about half the vinaigrette down the sides of the bowl and gently toss the arugula to coat. Add more vinaigrette, if needed. Add about 2 cups of the warm couscous and toss so the arugula gets slightly wilted. Add tomatoes, raisins, and capers, and toss again to combine.
Divide salad between three plates. Cut salmon in thirds and place a piece on top of each salad.

Rest of the week

June 7 Broccoli, asparagus and sweet pepper stirfry tossed with strips of pork

June 8 Penne with chicken, vegetables and tomato-basil sauce

June 9 Salmon, arugula and couscous salad