Acropolis Not Included: Souvlaki Salmon with Greek Orzo

Today, we travel to Greece for this light and refreshing summer supper. On the menu tonight: souvlaki inspired salmon, served alongside a Greek orzo salad. Orzo is rice shaped pasta. I love it because you get the approximate effect of rice, and it's much easier and faster to cook. The small "grains" soak up flavour really well too. The Greek vinaigrette doubles as both salad dressing and marinade. Two birds, one stone.
For a little extra oomph I roasted the bell pepper. And rather than grilling it outside, I did it over the gas burner. Don't worry, the skewered blackening pepper isn't going to burst into flames.

How to roast a pepper indoors on a gas burner:

-Skewer the stem end of the pepper with a two-pronged fork (the kind you use to carve a roast). Make sure you get it centered the first time, or else the pepper will wobble on the fork

-Do not oil or season the pepper

-Turn on the gas burner (the small one) and hold the pepper over the flame. Hold the pepper fairly close, about a half inch from the flame. It will pop and sizzle a little. Once one side is blackened, rotate the pepper until it is charred all over.

-Pop the pepper into a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Steam for 5-10 minutes. Take out the pepper, peel it, and remove the seeds. Avoid running the pepper under water as you peel it so that you don't rinse off the flavour.

Souvlaki Marinated Salmon with Greek Orzo Salad:

2 lemons
Olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 heaped teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons honey
Freshly ground black pepper

4 salmon fillets (~6 ounce portions)

1 1/4 cups orzo (cooked, drained and rinsed with cold water)
1 bell pepper (roasted, peeled, and diced)
1/3 cup cucumber (diced)
2 roma tomatoes (seeds scooped and diced)
1/3 cup feta cheese
3 green onions (chopped)
(Add red onion and olives, if desired)

In a small bowl, combine juice and zest of the lemon, garlic, oregano, honey, and pepper. Gradually whisk in olive oil (use three parts oil to one part lemon juice).

Reserve about 1/4 cup of the dressing, and pour the rest over the salmon. Marinade at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.

In a large bowl, toss together orzo and diced vegetables. Crumble in feta in large chunks. Season the reserved 1/4 cup of dressing with salt and pour over orzo. Toss to combine. Chill while cooking salmon (even better if made a few hours in advance).

Remove salmon from the dressing and shake off the excess marinade. Season both sides with coarse salt. Heat olive oil in a frying pan until very hot (oil should shimmer, but not smoke). Cook salmon skin side up until browned, then flip and cook until done (about 2 minutes per side, depending on fillet thickness).

Serves 4.

Recipe and image property of beets and bites

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