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Simply Salads by Jennifer Chandler
Pesto can be used to garnish so much more than pasta. Use it as a condiment for grilled fish or even as the base of a salad dressing as in this recipe. Making pesto from scratch is a breeze if you have fresh basil. If fresh basil is not available, feel free to use store-bought pesto. Just mix 2 tablespoons of the pesto with 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.
Makes 4 Dinner Salads


• 4 boneless salmon fillets (4 to 6 ounces each)
• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/2 bunch (about 1/2 pound) asparagus spears, trimmed
• 1 bag (10 ounces) Hearts of Romaine
• 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Preheat oven to 400°E Place the salmon fillets, skin side down, in a shallow baking dish. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with the olive oil. Bake until just cooked through and easily flakes to the
touch, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Once the salmon has cooled, gently flake with a fork, discarding the skin.

Cut the trimmed asparagus spears into 1 1/2 inch pieces. In a medium pot bring salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until vibrant green and crisp tender, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Drain the asparagus and immerse in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Drain again and place in a large salad bowl. Add the Hearts of Romaine, salmon, and cherry tomatoes. Add the vinaigrette to taste and gently toss.
Serve immediately.


Makes About 3/4 Cup

• 3/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, rinsed and patted dry
• 1 small garlic clove, minced
• 1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted* and cooled to room temperature
• 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
• 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

In a food processor or blender, puree the basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, vinegar, and oil until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

* To toast pine nuts, spread the nuts evenly on a baking sheet and place in a preheated 325 F oven. Toast, stirring occasionally so that they evenly brown, until they start to turn golden and are fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Pine nuts can also be toasted in your toaster oven.


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