8 ounces small golden beets, thinly sliced, peeled, and quartered (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup uncooked Israeli couscous
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup raw spinach leaves, trimmed
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons sake (rice wine)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets with skin (about 1 inch thick)
Lime wedges (optional)
How to Make It
To prepare couscous, heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and beets; sauté 5 minutes or until shallots are tender and just beginning to brown. Stir in couscous; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add water and salt; cover and simmer 8 minutes or until couscous is tender. Remove from heat; stir in spinach. Toss gently until combined and spinach wilts. Keep warm.
To prepare sauce, combine orange juice and next 6 ingredients (through red pepper) in a small saucepan, stirring well with a whisk; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 1 minute.
To prepare fish, brush cut sides of fillets with 1/4 cup sauce; place, skin sides up, on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill salmon, skin sides up, 2 minutes. Turn salmon fillets; brush with remaining 1/4 cup sauce. Grill 3 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or desired degree of doneness. Serve with couscous and lime wedges, if desired.
Wild Alaskan salmon is in season this time of year, and you can find it in supermarkets and fish markets across the country. Its rich flavor is worth paying a bit more. The ponzu sauce may be made up to a day ahead and refrigerated. Golden beets add sweetness and beautiful color, but don't stain like red beets. Israeli couscous has lovely pearl-like grains that are much larger than regular couscous. Use regular couscous if you can't find Israeli.
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I had low expectations for this dish, but it beat them. I wanted to do it both because I'm trying to eat more salmon and try new veggies like golden beets. I had to modify a bit because I don't have a grill -- instead, I cooked the sauce as written in a saucepan and then put the salmon in skin-side down, covered it, and cooked it for four minutes (I was only cooking a 12 oz. piece). The ponzu sauce was outstanding -- 5 stars -- and the cooking method worked beautifully. If you like spice at all in your food, I'd advise doubling or tripling the crushed red pepper. The couscous had a nice texture and the beets turned it a beautiful golden color and gave it beet flavor, but you need at least two or three times the amount of salt written. Not quite as exciting as the ponzu, but definitely unique and interesting and a good way to use beets. If a little ponzu sauce migrates into it, so much the better.. 3 stars for the couscous, so together, 4 stars overall.
I was almost afraid to make this after reading the reviews, but this was a very good meal. Because of reader reviews about blandness, I used 1/2 tsp salt vs 1/4 tsp. I didn't use the crushed red pepper because of my children, but I sprinkled a pinch of cayenne on each of the adult couscous. I used half of the ponzu sauce to brush on the grill, and I used the other half as a refreshing sauce to pour over the finished salmon on the dinner plate. It was really good, and a great way to get salmon, beets and spinach onto the family dinner plate.
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