Sesame-Crusted Salmon and Orzo with Brown Butter and Parmesan

Just for the record... I don't mind searching for and finding new recipes every week (after all, this whole adventure was of my own making). I don't mind making a list and shopping for the ingredients either. And, for the most part, I really don't mind trying to be creative and experimenting with different things. What I do mind, however, as I discovered this week, is making meals that immediately turn into leftovers because nobody, and I do mean nobody, is home to eat them. Must be the final dog days of summer but everyone in this house has been consistently busy with one thing or another (think buddies, golf, Wonderland, soccer reffing, movies, swimming, "hanging," I've heard it all) and although the intention is there to be home for dinner, at 6:00 pm I find myself looking at a messy kitchen but no one at the table. So much for "if you make it, they will come." Well, I made it and they didn't. Sorry for the vent but it's been a bit discouraging.

On the upside, however, and there is an upside--the fridge has been chockful of great leftovers for lunches the next day and we've been able to take advantage of that. This salmon translates well even cold, as did the rich, nutty orzo and tomato, chickpea and feta salad.

Sesame-Crusted Salmon
serves 4

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp and 2 tsp cornstarch
3 tbsp water
1 egg white
2 lb salmon fillet, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup cooking oil

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, chicken broth, ginger and garlic. In another small bowl, stir together the 2 tsp cornstarch and water. Whisk together the egg white and the 2 tbsp cornstarch. Brush the salmon with the cornstarch mixture and then dip it into the sesame seeds to coat.

Place the salmon on a foil-lined tray and place in the oven for 14 to 16 minutes or until cooked through.

Meanwhile, heat the soy-sauce mixture and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring. Whisk in the cornstarch-water mixture and cook, until thickened, about 1 minute longer. Serve the salmon with the sauce poured over it.
Orzo with Brown Butter and Parmesan
serves 4

1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup orzo
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
thinly sliced chives

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth and 1/2 cup water to a simmer over medium-high heat.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter turns golden brown and smells nutty, about 2 minutes. Add the orzo and stir to coat well. Cook until the orzo just begins to turn a light golden colour, about 2 minutes.

Pour in the wine and stir until absorbed, about 1 minute. Add the simmering broth, stir, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the orzo is just tender, about 12 minutes; the mixture may still be wet but will set up.

Stir the orzo, season to taste with salt and pepper, and mix in the parmesan. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Add the chives and serve.

Rest of the week

Aug 17 Caprese paninis
Aug 18 Salmon, orzo and tomato salad
Aug 19 Worked late so Austin ordered zza for the crew (everyone, including friends, were home for that particular meal but I'll try not to take it personally)