Saturday, July 05, 2014


I never thought I’d be interested in something called “salmon salad.” Let’s face it, it sounds weird—even though it’s basically just a modified Nicoise with salmon instead of tuna. But cold cooked fish is not my thing, and recently I’ve decided to face the fact that salmon isn’t my thing either, no matter how it’s cooked (raw is a different story; I could eat salmon sushi all day long). Yet the photo in Dinner: A Love Story still drew me in, with its rainbow of purple potatoes, green beans and cucumbers and herbs, yellow corn, red tomatoes, and the lovely pink salmon. Those are all my favorite summer vegetables, and I love lemony-mustardy vinaigrettes like this one—would all that be enough to make chilled salmon palatable?

Short answer: Yes, for me. A was not a fan of this one, but I kind of love it. It turns out that tearing it into little bits and mixing it with lots of other things mitigates most of the textural issues I have with cooked salmon. This salad is a great way to get me to eat fish AND make it portable—the leftovers keep well for several days and can be consumed at work without inflicting any of the dreaded fish-reheating smell (the scourge of so many office kitchens) on your colleagues. I still prefer white fish overall, but this beautifully refreshing summer salad is my new favorite way to work the occasional smattering of salmon into my diet.

My only notable changes to the original recipe were to add dill, which is just so perfect with salmon (and green beans, and potatoes, and cucumber…), and to omit the sugar from the vinaigrette. I made it as written the first time, but I should have remembered that I never add sugar to my dressings—not surprisingly, it tasted too sweet to me. I prefer things acidic, and the starchy potatoes and dense salmon can definitely stand up to tart flavors. I’ve marked the sugar as optional here; I’d recommend tasting the dressing without it first, and then adding it in ½ teaspoon increments to take the sour edge off if needed.

¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
About 1 teaspoon fresh lemon or lime juice, to taste
½ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound salmon fillet
1 large handful (about 1 cup) small red, purple or yellow potatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
2 ears corn
1 large handful (about 1 cup) thin green beans, trimmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 medium Persian cucumber, seeded and chopped
4 scallions (white and light green parts), chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (parsley would also be good here if you don’t have cilantro)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, mustard, sugar (if desired), lemon/lime juice, oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  3. To make the salmon, sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper. Roast in a foil-lined baking dish for 15 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until a knife slices through them with no resistance, about 10-12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes to a colander and let cool.
  5. Add the corn to the same pot of water. Boil for 4 minutes. Remove to a cutting board and allow to cool.
  6. Add beans to the same pot of water and cook for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and let cool in a colander.
  7. Place the tomatoes, cucumber, scallions, cilantro, and dill in a large bowl. When potatoes and green beans are room temperature, add them to the mixture. Cut the kernels off the corn cobs and add those to the bowl. Gently flake the salmon apart into bite-sized chunks and add it to the salad. Pour on the vinaigrette and toss gently.
Serves: 4
Time: 45 minutes
Leftover potential: Good.

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