Salmon with Butternut Squash Risotto and Kale Chips

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Finally I am back to blogging! I will say it has been a very hard past few months for me and I’ve been very busy and honestly haven’t felt up to cooking much. In late October my father had gotten admitted to the hospital. After a visit home I decided it was best for me to come home and spend time with him and help my family with medical decisions and guidance. He ended up passing a month later. Shortly thereafter, my husband went on deployment and he will be gone for the next 9 months. Needless to say it has been a very challenging and emotional time for me, and I’m glad to be back in the kitchen and in the blog world. I know my father  would want me to pick up the pieces and live my life like I normally would, so in a sense, this post is in honor of him.

All sadness aside, this is an amazingly rich and healthy dish. It’s filled with vitamins and honestly no preservatives, it has all fresh ingredients. There is so much flavor my mouth is watering just thinking back to when I ate it 4 hours ago! Salmon is something that I could eat everyday,  no questions asked. I think the flavor of the butternut squash risotto and the salmon go so beautifully together, then bringing it all in with crispy kale chips gives it an amazing crunch. The slight bitterness of the kale cuts through the sweetness of the risotto and makes a surprising duo!

To begin, preheat your oven to 425 then get started on your risotto. Take a 2 qt size saucepan and place 1 tbsp olive oil on medium heat. Once the pan gets warm, pour in your risotto and mushrooms and continuously stir making sure it is evenly coated, cook for 2 minutes. Pour in your water, milk, white wine (or white wine vinegar) stir well and bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir well and turn on low to simmer for 20 minutes, do not cover. Risotto is a very starchy rice, so you want to stir it frequently to bring out the starch and help it thicken. you want the end result to be thick, but creamy. I ended up cooking mine an extra five minutes.

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While your risotto is cooking, your oven should be preheated by now. Place your salmon on a baking dish or oven safe skillet and pour some olive oil in the pan, turn to coat the pan. Season your salmon with a little salt and pepper. Take your olive wine mixture by brushing the mixture onto the salmon, it’s ok if some gets on the bottom of the skillet/baking pan. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Take your bunch of kale and wash it well, tear off the leafy parts leaving the stems. Any thick stalk you may find you will want to leave out. The key to this is to make “chips” so you want the leafy parts only. Place some olive oil on a baking dish then put your kale on the pan evenly. Place pepper evenly over the kale add some lemon juice and a little bit more olive oil, mix around to evenly coat the kale with the oil. Place in the oven and take it out every 5 or so minutes to mix around, it will be ready when the kale tips are browned and crispy.

Once the salmon has cooked for 15-20 minutes, turn your oven on high broil and place it on the top oven rack. Watch the salmon carefully to make sure you don’t overcook or burn the fish. You want to watch your kale or take it out if it’s ready as well.  The salmon on broil will make the top skin nice and crispy.

To plate, take a nice amount of risotto in the middle of the plate, grab a spatula and when removing your salmon, locate the skin and gently put your spatula in between the skin and meat of the salmon. The skin should peel off easily and stay on the pan while you have your fillet nice and pretty on your spatula. Place your salmon on top of the risotto, then surround with your kale chips and voila!! Yummy and also looks impressive on a plate.

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What you need:
For the risotto:
1 box of butternut squash risotto (I used Lundberg traditional brand, found in organic or rice section)
handful of mixed mushrooms (crimini, shiitaki, button, and porcini, mixed together in one box at grocery store)
The following ingredients were on the box for directions, I added the vinegar and used less water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 3/4 cup water
1/3 cup of white wine vinegar
1 cup of milk (I actually ran out, so I ended up using soy milk and it turned out just as good!)
For the Salmon:
2 salmon fillets, I prefer fresh and not previously frozen, also wild caught not farm raised
salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
juice of half a lemon (i ended up using a little less than half and saved the rest to sprinkle on top)
1 tbsp lemon pepper seasoning
For the kale:
A bunch of kale, washed and stems and stalks removed
olive oil (I don’t measure, just enough to lightly coat the kale)
pepper
sprinkle of lemon juice

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