Thursday, June 9, 2011

Local Schmocal: Salmon and Spring Greens Salad with Fried Capers and Honey-Chive Vinaigrette

Ew. I just realized that in both of my last two posts I totally went on and on about what healthy eaters we've been lately. I am annoyed with myself because (a) I don't like a sloppy work product and should have re-read the miso soup post before posting about the sweet potatoes and basically paraphrasing myself; (b) it reads like I'm boasting (yuck!); and (c) it's kind of, quite frankly, a mischaracterization of the truth. Since Sunday, for instance, along with our five thousand salads, we've eaten a couple pints of Malted Malt Ball Ice Cream as well as an insanely rich, ancho-chili-spiked chocolate cake. So anyway, I'm calling myself out because I'm kind of embarrassed. (But not embarrassed enough to delete the posts, because I do think the recipes are share-worthy.)

Here's me making things right: Psst. Guess what? We only eat vegetables because we paid to get a s*&# load of them every Thursday and can't bear the thought of wasting them.

So we use a lot of spices and oils and meats and cheeses to make all our greens palatable. We have no other choice. We're in too deep.

Por ejemplo!

beginning to devoured

This here: mostly greens. Featured above as they evolve from overwhelming to completely edible (completely devoured in fact). With a little help from salmon, my mom's throw-together rub that was absolutely delicious, a bit of quinoa, and some fried capers and dressing suggested by Epicurious. (They are full of suggestions there!)

The salmon is from Minnesota.


Just kidding.

And yet we get it from the farmer's market because the dude who fishes it in Alaska lives and sells his catch in Minneapolis. And that's good enough for me, I guess.

salmon salad close up

Salmon and Spring Greens Salad with Fried Capers and Honey-Chive Vinaigrette
Adapted (sort of) from Epicurious
Yield: 4-5 main course servings

About 6-8 cups mixed greens, depending on how much you love greens and/or how many you have to use up before your next CSA share arrives
3 cups pea sprouts or sunflower sprouts (optional)
1 cup cooked quinoa (follow package instructions), chilled or room temp
1/2 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
6 radishes, quartered
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
2-3 tablespoons capers, drained and patted dry a bit

Honey-Chive Vinaigrette
1 bunch fresh chives (big handful, about 1" in diameter)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water (or more to get a consistency you like)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 scallions, white and pale green parts only
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt

1 lb piece of sock-eye salmon fillet, ideally center-cut (go big or go home)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter for skillet

Mix together all the seasonings for the salmon rub. Use a paper towel to dry the salmon. You can either remove the skin before or after cooking, whichever is easier for you. (You can find good instructions for how to do this on youtube, by the way. That's how we learned.) Rub the side of the salmon that doesn't (or didn't) have skin with the spice mixture. Set aside.

Next make your dressing. Mix all the dressing ingredients in a blender until as smooth as possible. Add a little more water to thin it out if necessary. Taste and add more salt and some pepper as desired.

Bring a quart of water to boil and add the asparagus. Cook for 1 minute, then drain and immediately run cold water over the asparagus (or use an ice bath) until they're no longer warm. In a large bowl, layer the salad ingredients as follows: mixed greens, sprouts, quinoa, radishes, asparagus, eggs. Set bowl in refrigerator while you finish preparing salmon and capers.

Heat oil or butter in a large skillet over high heat (until shimmery or melted, respectively). Add the salmon, seasoned side down, and cook for 4-6 minutes. Flip and cook for 4-5 more minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool. Remove the skin if you haven't already (and, if you are way more awesome than I am and happen to be interested in meeting the deepest desires of my father's heart, reserve the skin and crumble it over the salad). Add the capers to the still-oiled pan and fry them for 45-60 seconds, until they crisp up a bit.

Remove the salad from the refrigerator. Once cool enough to handle, break the salmon fillet into large chunks on top of the salad. Top with the capers. Drizzle the dressing on top of the salad or serve it on the side.

This salad turns out really beautiful. I'm just sayin.


  1. Your photos are beautiful, ENLC! Ugh, now I'm super hungry...! xoxoxo

  2. Made the Honey Chive dressing, so yummy!! Thank you!! :)

  3. So glad you liked it, Lis! You just reminded me how good it was. I'm going to make it to go with our dinner salad tonight.