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Make salmon, farro for spring cleanse

It’s time for a spring cleaning — and not just for our living spaces. Our internal environments need cleansing, too.

Make the switch to more wholesome, lighter meals a delight — not a chore — by infusing them with citrus, garlic and fresh, springtime herbs. Steam or roast fresh vegetables, then pair with cooked whole grains and lean proteins.

We all know the recipe for health. We just need to do it. And sometimes a dish outside our usual menus inspires positive change.

Here’s one from Tribune News Service, this blog’s second within less than a month to feature salmon and farro. If you’re not familiar with the so-called “ancient grain,” it’s a form of wheat that many with gluten sensitivities can tolerate. The recipe also highlights fresh dill, the subject of my latest food section column.

If you like the format, consider this farro bowl posted about a year ago that riffs on the flavors of Salads Nicoise.

And find more recipes for flavorful, healthful meals in this week’s food section (see the April 14 e-edition).

Tribune News Service photo

Lemon-Garlic Salmon Farro Bowl

Zest and juice of l large lemon

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing fish

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 pound boneless, skinless salmon fillet

Kosher salt, to taste

2 sweet potatoes, diced or cut into half moons

1/2 bunch thin asparagus, woody ends snapped off and cut into 2-inch pieces

1 cup cherry tomatoes

2 cups mixed salad greens

1 cup farro, cooked according to package directions

Lemon-Yogurt Dressing (recipe follows)

Pinch of fresh chopped dill

Preheat oven to 425 F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and zest, the olive oil, minced garlic and oregano. Add a good grind of black pepper and whisk again.

Line a cookie sheet with a large piece of foil. Brush a little olive oil over surface.

Pat the salmon fillet(s) dry with a paper towel, then season on both sides with some of the salt. Place on top of foil and drizzle lemon-garlic sauce on top. Fold foil over fish to create a package.

Place the diced or sliced sweet potatoes, the asparagus and tomatoes in a large bowl, pour remaining lemon-garlic sauce over top and toss to coat. Place on a second cookie sheet and season with salt and pepper. Place in preheated oven and roast until veggies are fork tender and tomatoes have started to burst, for about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with foil to keep warm.

Place fish in oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until salmon is almost cooked through at thickest part. (Time will vary depending on thickness of fillets.) Remove fish from oven and open up foil to uncover top of fish. Turn oven to broil.

Broil fish for 3 to 5 minutes, watching closely so it doesn't burn. Salmon is done when top is starting to brown and has a slightly crusty texture. Remove fish from oven, allow to cool for a few minutes, then cut into large pieces or flake with a fork.

Divide the salad greens between 2 large bowls. Spoon as much of the cooked farro on top as you like. Add roasted veggies around perimeter and top with fish. Drizzle the lemon-yogurt dressing on top, and garnish with the chopped fresh dill. Serve with a nice glass of sauvignon blanc.

Makes 2 servings.

LEMON-YOGURT DRESSING: In a bowl, stir together the juice of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon rice wine or champagne vinegar, 1 large peeled and minced garlic clove, 1/2 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons lemon-infused or regular extra-virgin olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.