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Salmon and Grains Salad with Pistachio Salsa Verde

Photo: Erin Kunkel; Styling: Christine Wolheim


Serves 4 to 6 as a main dish

Kris Tominaga serves this dramatic salad at Cadet restaurant in Santa Monica. Wild rice and black quinoa (the quinoa fried until crunchy) form a backdrop for colorful greens and salmon. In winter, frozen sockeye salmon is an excellent choice. Wine Pairing: A dry, crisp rosé made out of Pinot Noir, like Calera 2015 Vin Gris of Pinot Noir (Central Coast; available in March). The tart, silky red fruit is a great foil for salmon, and the wine's minerally herbal quality plays off the salsa verde. --Sara Schneider


  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 1/2 cup black quinoa*, rinsed well and drained
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups grapeseed or canola oil, for frying
  • 1 1/2 pounds sockeye salmon fillets (about 1 in. thick), thawed if frozen, pin bones removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 qt. loosely packed small, tender watercress sprigs
  • 3/4 cup paper-thin radish slices
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 3/4 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves (torn if large)
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh small, tender cilantro sprigs
  • 1/4 cup small, tender fresh dill sprigs
  • Pistachio Salsa Verde

Nutrition Information

  • calories 610
  • caloriesfromfat 56 %
  • protein 33 g
  • fat 39 g
  • satfat 5.4 g
  • carbohydrate 35 g
  • fiber 4.7 g
  • sodium 615 mg
  • cholesterol 70 mg

How to Make It

  1. Prepare grains: Cook wild rice and quinoa separately according to package instructions, adding 1/2 tsp. salt to each. Drain grains of any liquid, then pour out each onto separate rimmed baking sheets and let cool.

  2. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it reaches 350° on a deep-frying thermometer. Using a slotted spoon, add one-quarter of quinoa; cook until crisp (spoon out a few grains and taste them to test), about 2 minutes. Transfer quinoa to paper towels to drain and repeat to cook remaining quinoa.

  3. Make salad: Preheat broiler with rack about 3 in. from heat. Set salmon on a rimmed baking sheet. Rub all over with oil, salt, and pepper. Broil until medium-rare (cut to test), turning once, 3 to 5 minutes total. Set aside 5 to 10 minutes (salmon will continue to cook a little).

  4. On a large platter, layer wild rice, half of quinoa, the watercress, radishes, onion, parsley, basil, cilantro, and dill. Gently toss greens and vegetables to loosely mix. Break salmon into 4-in. pieces, discarding any skin, and add to platter. Sprinkle with remaining quinoa, taking care not to cover salmon. Spoon about 2/3 cup salsa verde over salad and serve the rest on the side.

  5. *Find black quinoa at well-stocked grocery stores, natural-foods stores, and, or use another color of quinoa.

  6. Make ahead: Up to 1 day, prep and chill herbs. Cook grains (step 1) and chill; bring to room temperature to continue.