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Lemon Pepper Salmon with Farro and Wilted Greens is a perfect weeknight meal. Salmon is an extremely versatile fish that has universal appeal because of its unique, delicate flavor. You can serve it on its own raw (sushi), grilled, pan-fried, baked, poached or roasted, or flake it into pasta or place it on top of a salad. There are dozens of flavors, toppings and sauces that complement this heart-healthy protein. You are limited only by your imagination.
In my recipe, salmon is enhanced with savory herbs like lemon pepper, oregano and paprika. I love how quickly this dish comes together, and my husband and children love these flavors. Because salmon is such a high-quality protein, I like to get it onto the dinner table a few times each month. It is loaded with nutrients including Omega-3 fatty acids and is high in B vitamins and potassium.
When I shop for salmon, I look for a deep pink color. I tend to like line-caught salmon, but farm raised is equally as delicious. For this recipe, I prefer center cut salmon fillets approximately 1 to 2-inches thick (about 6 ounces each). I like the skin on because the fish tends to hold together better.
To make this Lemon Pepper Salmon a balanced meal, I pair it with wilted greens like kale or spinach. To round out this healthy dish, I’ve included whole grain, heart-healthy farro. Farro is hearty with a very nutty flavor and contains fiber, antioxidants and minerals. If you can’t find farro, good substitutes are white or brown rice and quinoa.
Spreading farro on a cookie sheet after cooking will keep it warm and prevent it from getting mushy.
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Paprika is an often overlooked spice. Many cooks use it to give a dish a dash of color, especially in fish dishes. But paprika can add a whole new flavor profile when you select a variety with heat or a smoky flavor.
Made from a variety of dried peppers, paprika ranges from mild to hot in intensity and from sweet to smoky in flavor. The color of paprika comes from the content of carotenoids in the peppers with color ranging from bright yellow to orange to deep red.
Paprika is often used more like a garnish than a true spice. This most common form of paprika is a mild, sweet variety. I find that paprika is readily available in most supermarkets and grocery stores, although some of the special varieties such as smoky paprika or Spanish or Hungarian paprika can be more difficult to find. Paprika is found in many different types of cuisine, but most common in Spanish, Mexican and Hungarian. The flavor and heat in paprika are enhanced by heating it.
Like the peppers used to make paprika, it is high in capsaicin and antioxidants. Capsaicin is what gives peppers their heat (spiciness). It has many health benefits including: reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease, improving your immune system, managing pain and even weight management.
I use the sweet, mild paprika for this salmon dish to give it a little extra color and a mild punch of spice. Why not experiment with adding a little smokiness with a smoky paprika or give it a kick with a hot variety? I’d love to hear how your version turns out!
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I am a food photographer, educator, and recipe developer, sharing my passion for bringing flavor to life through stunning visuals.
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