salmon with chickpea ragu

I didn't eat seafood until I started dating my husband. That was eight years ago. Tentative at first, he wooed me in slowly (probably with something covered in bacon), tempting me with little bites at a time. Then I started really learning about how good for you fish is and I started to work it into my diet creatively.

I would cherry-pick only my favorite ingredients and find a recipe that incorporated them into a seafood dish. At first I'd eat only those ingredients and pick at the fish. But slowly, my tastes changed and I came to appreciate the flaky – and sometimes steak-like – texture and variety of flavors, ranging from mild and sweet to pungent. Good stuff.

This dish was one I discovered about halfway along my journey to liking seafood dishes. But I loved this dish, even though salmon is a strong fish. The tomatoey-chickpea ragu stands up to it, though, and even non-salmon lovers will enjoy this one. Try it when you're looking for something healthy and hearty. It's quick enough for a weeknight, too.

Salmon with Chickpea Ragu (courtesy Ellie Krieger)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 (15.5 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup basil leaves, sliced into ribbons, plus more for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 (6 oz.) skinless salmon fillets
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the onion, and cook until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the carrot, zucchini, and garlic and cook, stirring, until the carrots are firm-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, stirring to incorporate completely. Add the chicken broth and chickpeas and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, until the liquid thickens slightly, 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Remove the skillet from the heat, and add 1 cup of the basil and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper (and crushed red pepper flakes, if using), and stir to incorporate. Cover to keep warm while you cook the salmon.
  3. Preheat the broiler. Season the salmon with the remaining ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Broil the salmon for 8 to 10 minutes per inch thickness, turning once.
  4. To serve, spoon 1 ½ cups of the chickpea ragu into a shallow bowl or rimmed plate. Top with a fillet of salmon and garnish with the ribbons of basil.

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