Sear Beauty

Salmon, basil, and tomatoes blend divinely in this any-night meal.

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Salmon with Basil Sauce 

4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh basil
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Drizzle salmon with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside 10 minutes to absorb flavor.

Meanwhile, combine basil, ½ cup olive oil, and remaining ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, and set aside.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté salmon 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until desired degree of doneness. Place on serving plates. In the warm skillet, heat reserved basil sauce, and pour over salmon. Makes 4 servings.

SIMPLE SIDES
Yellow and Red Tomatoes
Even in cool months, you can find tasty cherry and pear tomatoes in the market. Just before pouring the sauce over the fish, add tomatoes to the skillet, and toss to coat.

Hot Cooked Pasta
Start boiling water before you begin preparing the rest of the menu so all items finish together. Short on time? Try couscous, which cooks in just 5 minutes. Toss either with olive oil or basil sauce.

Boiled Asparagus
Asparagus generally holds its shape and nutritional value better if steamed instead of boiled, but you can keep prep and cleanup to a minimum by adding the asparagus to the pasta during the last 3 minutes of cooking.

PERFECT PAIRING
California lifestyle expert Susie Coelho recommends Meridian Pinot Noir for the Salmon with Basil Sauce. A hint of lemon means the recipe would work equally well with Meridian's Chardonnay. Another option is Meridian Sauvignon Blanc. Its bright, sunny quality matches the acidity of the tomatoes.

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