Sunday, November 14, 2010

Grilled Salmon with Balsamic Glaze over Swiss Chard & Israeli Couscous

Pancho and I had a  free Sunday today.  Sure, there was a long list of things I should have done, like get some work done ahead of the insanely busy week coming at my job, do laundry, clean the kitchen floors, clean the bathrooms, etc. But, it was almost 75 degrees out today, not a cloud in the sky and not a wisp of that cold pacific wind blowing in from the west.  It was just too nice to stay inside doing anything that was remotely like work.  It was a late night last night too, a good friend turned 40 and to celebrate we spent Saturday night playing Beer Pong and Flip Cup, doing shots of Jägermeister, and belting out some righteous karaoke. Basically pretending that we will still in our 20's and not facing the big 4-0.  Getting up and actually being productive this morning was just not in the cards.  We ended up having a late breakfast and then taking the dog on a 3.1 mile lap around Lake Merritt in downtown Oakland.  It was a great way to spend a couple of hours on an absolutely beautiful Sunday Afternoon.

On the way home we stopped at the store and wild Sockeye Salmon was on sale for $8.99/lb.  Since the weather was so nice turning on the grill seemed like a great idea and instantly I knew what was for dinner- Grilled Salmon with a Balsamic glaze over some Swiss Chard & Israeli Couscous.  I can't take any credit for this salmon recipe, it's from the July 2001 issue of Bon Appetit and the original recipe can be found on the Epicurious website here.  It's probably my favorite salmon recipe.  The glaze is so good, and so easy to make.  There isn't a thing that needs to be tweaked with the recipe, it's perfect as is.  The Israeli Couscous recipe is my own and goes great with the salmon.

Grilled salmon with balsamic glaze 
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
2 Salmon Fillets

  1. Make the Glaze.  Combine the balsamic vinegar, wine, lemon juice & brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Boil the sauce until it's reduced to about 1/3 cup and coats the back of a spoon when you stir it.  It will take about 17 to 20 minutes. Season the glaze to taste with salt and pepper.  You can make this glaze up to a week ahead of time, just keep it covered in the fridge.  When you are ready to use it just rewarm over low heat.
  2. Prepare the Salmon.  Lightly coat both sides of the salmon fillets with olive oil, salt & pepper.  Heat your grill to medium high heat and then grill the salmon until it's opaque in the center, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Serve.  Drizzle the salmon glaze over the salmon and serve over some Israeli Couscous with Swiss Shard.  You will most likely have a ton of the balsamic glaze left over.  It will keep in the fridge for a few days.
Israeli Couscous with Swiss Shard
1 cup Israeli Couscous (also called pearled couscous)
1 1/2 cup chicken broth/stock
Olive Oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bunch Swiss Chard, stems removed and chopped into strips
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper
  1. Cook the Couscous.  In a small pot bring the chicken stock to a boil.  Add in the couscous and cook over medium high heat for about 6 or 7 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed.  Remove the pot from the heat, cover and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Prepare the Swiss Chard.  Whlile the couscous is cooking heat a little olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan.  Add in the shallots and sauté over medium heat for a few minutes.  Add in the garlic and continue to sauté for another minute.  Add in the Swiss Chard and continue cooking until the greens cook all the way down.
  3. Add the Pine Nuts & Parmesan.  Once the greens have cooked all the way down toss in the pine nuts and stir well.  Add the Parmesan cheese, stir the mixture and remove the pan from the heat.
  4. Add in the Couscous.  Once the couscous is done, stir it into the swiss chard, season with salt & pepper.
  5. Serve!  place a few spoonfuls of the couscous/swiss chard mixture on a plate and top with a grilled salmon fillet.  Drizzle the balsamic glaze over the salmon.

We drank a Wente Vineyards Riva Ranch Chardonnay with dinner tonight.  We're big fans of big oakey chardonnays and this one fits the bill perfectly.  It's also a bargain at only $14 a bottle!

Bon Appetit!


  1. Looks delicious! I'm suddenly hungry again!

  2. Yes, I made balsamic vinegar drumettes and they were delicious, so I bet this salmon is as great. I love also the side dishes you made to accompany it.

  3. Ooh, that Salmon looks excellent. I almost never make it, though I really should...