Oven-Roasted Salmon with Couscous, Shredded Greens and Cranberries (and bacon)

Thanksgiving is only days away, and for those of us who will be entrusted to cook this iconic meal for friends and family, it can be a bit stressful and all-consuming.  It's most definitely coming down to crunch time here at the Circle B Kitchen, and with 32 people to cook for on the big day, you can bet I'm in the thick of it here.  

But I'm not even scared.  Yet.  I love this meal and I love cooking this meal and I've promised myself that I will enjoy the heck out of every moment.  So to preserve sanity and give me the best shot at enjoying my day, most of the meal will be cooked over the next few days.  If you're at all curious about that and how to pull it off (or not) 😳, I'll be posting photos and recipes over on the "What's Cooking" page.

But in the meantime, there are still mouths to feed and meals to be made that aren't turkey, and this is one I've been ever so excited to share with you.

Just every now and then a dish or a recipe comes along that leaves you wondering why in all your 65 years you haven't before thought to put these flavors and textures and ingredients together in this particular way.  I mean there's nothing really remarkable here... no cutting edge new ingredient that you HAVE to try, no new technique for creating the perfect something.  No, this dish is simplicity itself.  And yet I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.  Sometimes a thing is just what you've been craving but had no idea, but sometimes it's in itself a perfect meal. Perhaps both things are true here. 

For me, this is indeed, a perfect meal.... tender couscous studded with shaved brussels sprouts, shredded kale and cranberries all roast together with tender salmon fillets, sharing flavors and textures and I just never wanted it to be the last bite.  

And thankfully, the perfect meal is also quick, easy and something you can easily throw together on a busy weeknight.  A couple of shortcuts will get you there even quicker.  You can shred or shave some brussels sprouts or you can buy them pre-shaved (I'm not enjoying that imagery), and if you snag yourself a bag of chopped kale, you're going to have dinner on the table in under 30 minutes.  

And let me just say as well that this couscous would make an incredibly wondrous side dish for your Thanksgiving dinner, partnered up with roast turkey.  Likewise it would also be very festive and yummy on your Christmas dinner table.   

So here are the Cliff notes (do they even still have Cliff notes?)...

Salmon is sauteed briefly and then removed from pan...

Chopped shallots, shredded brussels sprouts and kale are sauteéd....

and then couscous and chicken broth are added to the pan along with some dried cranberries.  The salmon is placed back on top.

The whole shebang goes in the oven to roast for about 8 minutes, during which time you will cook up some bacon (or not, according to your preferences, but bacon should always be a preference in this life).

And that's it.  You're done.  Oh wait, no, you have to dish it up and sprinkle the bacon on top and then the fun begins.  

And I'm not even kidding about that.  Might I suggest that you give yourself a break from the Thanksgiving madness and make yourself something quick, delicious and yes, fun for dinner?  I guess I just did.  Here's the recipe...

Oven-Roasted Salmon with Couscous, Shredded Greens and Cranberries

Click here for a printable recipe

The original recipe from The Kitchen used prosciutto-wrapped halibut which I’m sure was delicious.  I decided to use salmon and instead of the prosciutto, I cooked up some bacon to add to the mix.  The original recipe also said that it serves 4, and I’m sure those people are out there, they just don’t live here.  I’m saying it serves 2, maybe 3.  If you’re feeding 4, I’d make 1 1/2 servings (4 salmon filets, 3 cups brussels sprouts, 1 1/2 cups kale, 1 1/2 cups couscous, 1 1/2 cups broth, 4 slices bacon, etc.).  You can leave the skin on the salmon if you like, it adds great flavor to the dish and peels off easily before serving.

Recipe adapted from The Kitchen

Serves 2

(2) 6-7 ounce salmon filets (skin on or off - see headnote)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
Pinch chile flakes
2 cups shaved Brussels sprouts
1 cup shredded or chopped kale
1 cup couscous
1 cup hot chicken stock or water
1/3 cup dried cranberries
2 slices of bacon

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Season the salmon with salt and pepper and then heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the salmon on each side for 3-4 minutes per side.  Remove the salmon from the pan.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and quickly stir the shallots, lemon zest and chile flakes into the skillet. Add the Brussels sprouts and kale and saute until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the couscous, hot stock and cranberries. 

Place the salmon on top of the mixture and transfer to the oven. Bake for 8 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the bacon until crispy.  

Remove the pan from the oven and remove the salmon from the pan.  Fluff the couscous with a fork and then place a few spoonfuls in serving bowls or on plates.  Place the salmon on top of the couscous and then crumble the bacon on top and serve.