Sunday, September 21, 2014

Grilled Salmon Fresca- Brio Copy Cat attempt

So, I'm just going to pretend like I haven't gone on a two year hiatus from blogging.  :)

One of my dear friends Marva has a house in New Harmony, Utah that happens to also have a pear and apple orchard in the backyard.  Before she went up one weekend, she asked if I'd like to have some pears.  Who am I to turn down pears right off the tree?  She asked how many bushels I wanted, and before answering, I thought, "Huh... a bushel is like one of those cute little wicker baskets that could double as an Easter basket, right?"  So, I said two.  When she was coming down from Utah, she texted me to let me know that she had my pears.  I was thrilled to death!  Well, I get a knock at the door.  I open it and there is a box on my doorstep that could double as a bed for my firstborn in an emergency that was packed with pears.  I peeked around the corner, and she was bringing a second emergency bed for my other two kids that was also filled with pears.  She smiled, clearly at my shock of having 9,000 pears on my doorstep.  I thanked her, hugged her, and started throwing pears at pigeons flying by just because I had enough to go around.  Okay, I didn't throw any!  These pears were absolutely amazing!  They were juicy and delicious, and I ate about 4 a day.  I gave some away, ate a bunch, made some pear honey, and canned some pears.  Thanks Mom for helping me there!  When I saw Marva the next morning at the gym, I said, "Hey, Marva... I have a bone to pick with you.  I don't think you gave me enough pears."  She laughed out loud because she knows how overwhelmed I was to have all that fruit!  It was amazing, and I'm glad she shared her bounty with me.  She asked me a couple days ago if I wanted some apples from her orchard.  I said, "Yes... 10 of each kind. Notice I specified the amount this time!"  

I bring this story up because this sweet friend took me out to a birthday lunch at Brio here in LasVegas.  It's such an amazing restaurant for Italian food.  I got lasagna because I needed something cheesy and fattening, but she got the grilled Salmon Fresca.  After my eyes were drawn to her plate and drool started dribbling down my chin at her lunch, she may never go out to lunch with me again! I instantly regretted my fattening choice and wished I went the lighter route.  I went back to Brio a few weeks later and ordered it.  I had to try to recreate it at home.  When I did, it turned out amazing.  Maybe not as good as Brio's, but it's sure a lot cheaper!  

Thanks Marva, again, for the pears and the lunch date.  You're a gem!   

Brio's Grilled Salmon Fresca Copy Cat recipe
source: my own creation from the description and the help from a couple websites :)

Serves: 3

1 fillet of salmon, cut into three chunks, leave skin on
18 spears of asparagus
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
1/2 yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 c fresh spinach, washed, stems cut off
1/2 c feta cheese
1 roma tomato, diced
fresh basil, cut into thin strips

Balsamic Glaze:

1 c balsamic vinegar
1/4 c honey

Pesto Vinaigrette:

1/4 c prepared Pesto
1 1/2 T white wine vinegar
1/2 T fresh lemon juice
1/4 c olive oil

Okay folks.... here we go!

First off, you're going to make a couple sauces:

For balsamic glaze:
Stir balsamic vinegar and honey together in a small saucepan.  Place it over high heat.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.  Simmer until the mixture is reduced to 1/3 c- about 10-15 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

For pesto vinaigrette:
In a bowl, combine the pesto, vinegar, and lemon juice.  Slowly add the olive oil in a thing stream, whisking to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Boil water in a medium saucepan.  Add the diced sweet potato chunks for 5-7 minutes.  You want them to be just underdone since they'll be broiled later. Drain them and set them aside on a cookie sheet or roasting pan.  Place the asparagus spears and bell pepper chunks on the cookie sheet as well. Set it aside.

Preheat your broiler on high with the rack on the top position.

I was out a gas grill when I made this, so I just used a stovetop griddle pan.  You can grill it, if you'd like.  Preheat your grill or skillet to medium heat.  Sprinkle salt and pepper on the salmon.  Place it in the skillet skin side down, cover it, and cook it for five minutes.  

Meanwhile, place the cookie sheet with the asparagus, peppers, and sweet potatoes in the oven under the broiler.  Set the timer for eight minutes.

Remove the lid, flip the salmon over to skin-side up, cover, and cook for 5 minutes more.  Remove the lid, and flip the salmon one last time so the skin is down again.  Generously brush the tops of the salmon with the balsamic glaze.  Cook for a couple minutes more or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.  if the salmon fillets are thicker, it's going to take a little longer. Once it's done, remove from the heat and set aside.  

Your vegetables should be about done.  Once the eight minutes is up, take the pan out.  Drizzle about 1/2 of the Pesto Vinaigrette onto the vegetables.  Place the prepared fresh spinach on the cookie sheet.  Return the cookie sheet to the broiler for another 2-3 minutes or until the spinach is slightly wilted.  Remove the cookie sheet.

Remove the skin from the cooked salmon.

To prepare the plates, place 1/3 of the spinach on the center of each plate.  Put 1/3 of the sweet potatoes on one side of the spinach, and the roasted red peppers on the other side.  Drizzle with a little more pesto vinaigrette.  Top with the salmon.  Place 6 asparagus spears on top of the salmon.  Sprinkle some diced tomatoes and feta over the top of the asparagus.  Drizzle some balsamic reduction and a little more pesto vinaigrette over the top of the whole dish.  Top with the fresh basil.

Okay friends, this is an amazing meal.  My 8 year old daughter said it was one of the best things she's ever eaten and wants it every night.  You and me both!  

Enjoy!  :)


  1. LOVE your recipe creation!!! You developed a marvelous copycat version of this entree that I have enjoyed many times at Brio. I did not prepare the salmon as written (my husband smokes salmon on the grill) but I did drizzle the balsamic glaze on the prepared fish. The veggie side is amazing!!! You did an incredible job of duplicating the taste and presentation!! I will be sharing your recipe with many friends...thank you!

    1. Thank you Mary Lynn! Your comment just made my whole day! This recipe is a keeper for sure. I know it's not perfect, but it gets close enough for my taste. Thanks for the comment and the kind words!