QUICK MEALS Sweet and spicy salsa gives sparkle to salmon



By LINDA GASSENHEIMER
KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS
I like to take advantage of fresh pears when they are in season in the fall. In this quick meal, a sweet and spicy pear and red bell pepper salsa adds just the right sparkle to rich, juicy pink salmon.
You seldom find fully ripe pears in the supermarket, so you will most likely need to ripen them at home. To do so, leave them in a bowl at room temperature. This will take four to six days for a hard, green pear or two to three days for a yellow one. Once they are ripe, place them in the refrigerator.
The recipe gives the cooking time for a 1-inch-thick salmon fillet. Reduce the time by 1 minute per side for a thinner piece; increase it by a minute or two per side for a thicker piece.
The salmon is cooked when the fish is no longer translucent. It will continue to cook in its own heat for a few minutes after it is removed from the skillet.
Fresh fettuccine is available in most markets. It only takes about 3 minutes to cook. Fresh, washed, ready-to-eat baby spinach is also available and only needs to be placed in the hot water with the fettuccine just before the pasta is drained.
HELPFUL HINTS
A sweet apple can be substituted for the pear.
Thinly sliced zucchini can be substituted for the spinach; add it to the boiling water with the pasta and cook them together for 3 minutes.
COUNTDOWN
Place water for pasta on to boil.
Make salsa.
Saut & eacute; salmon.
Cook fettuccine and spinach.
FLORENTINE FETTUCCINE
1/4 pound fresh fettuccine
1 (8- to 10-ounce) package washed, ready-to-eat baby spinach
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Fill a large saucepan with 3 to 4 quarts water and bring to a boil. Add the fettuccine and boil 3 minutes. Add the spinach; stir and drain. Return the fettuccine and spinach to the pan and add the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well. Transfer to dinner plates. Makes 2 servings.
Per serving: 271 calories (19 percent from fat), 5.7 g fat (0.8 g saturated, 3.4 g monounsaturated), 0 cholesterol, 9.7 g protein, 45.5 g carbohydrates, 3.6 g fiber, 71 mg sodium.
SAUT & eacute;ED SALMON WITH PEAR-PEPPER SALSA
1 small ripe pear (about 1 cup cubed)
1/2 red bell pepper (about 1 cup cubed)
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil spray
3/4 pound salmon fillet
Core pear (do not peel) and cut into 1/2-inch pieces over a bowl to catch the juice. Add pieces to bowl. Seed bell pepper and cut into 1/2-inch pieces; add to bowl. Add the jalapeno pepper, cumin, lime juice, cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well and set aside.
Heat a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat and spray with olive oil. Add the salmon fillets. For a 1-inch thick fillet, saut & eacute; 4 minutes, turn and saut & eacute; 4 more minutes. Season cooked sides with salt and pepper. Transfers salmon to dinner plates and serve salsa on top. Makes 2 servings.
Per serving: 329 calories (36 percent from fat), 13 g fat (1.9 g saturated, 3.7 g monounsaturated), 96 mg cholesterol, 35 g protein, 18.7 g carbohydrates, 3.8 g fiber, 76 mg sodium.

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