Maple Syrup Salmon with Sesame Asparagus Orzo

By Victoria Abbott Riccardi

Salmon has never been so kid-friendly thanks to a sumptuously sweet maple syrup glaze. If your child is reluctant to taste it, try telling her that eating it will give her a super brain!

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 pounds center-cut salmon fillet (about 1-inch thick)
2/3 cup whole-wheat orzo
3/4 pound asparagus, bottoms snapped off
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

1. Blend together maple syrup with grainy mustard and balsamic. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Adjust oven rack to highest point. Preheat broiler and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a covered medium-size pot of hot water over medium-high heat for boiling pasta.

3. Place salmon on prepared baking sheet. Remove pin bones from each piece with fish tweezers (or clean pliers). Spoon mustard-maple mixture over fish (for a 6- to 9-month-old, leave a small portion of salmon without sauce) and broil 3 to 4 inches from heat until fish is flaky and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove salmon from oven, turn off broiler and lightly cover fish with aluminum foil to keep warm.

4. Add orzo to boiling water and cook 8 minutes. Add asparagus and cook 2 minutes more. Drain pasta and asparagus, then transfer back to pot (for a 6- to 9-month-old, set aside a small portion of pasta and a small portion of asparagus without sauce). Stir in sesame oil and soy sauce.

5. Serve salmon and orzo-asparagus mixture with two accompaniments your little one is familiar with, such as warm bread and a side of apple slices or natural applesauce.

Serves 2 adults and 2 toddlers