Sunday, May 8, 2011

Grilled Salmon Salad with Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette

I’m back in the kitchen, where Grilled Salmon Salad with Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette is on this evening’s menu! When I had this deliciously light and refreshing salad in a restaurant a couple of days ago, I took the leftovers home to try to reproduce it. If you find the variety of ingredients too daunting, add what you can and keep the basics. I've modified it from the original, substituting a section of canned pear for the poached, fresh, skin-on pear in the restaurant's salad.
If I were  scoring this, I’d give it top marks. Because it’s served on individual plates, only you can determine the quantities you’ll need, so I’ve provided only approximate measurements. The quantities I've suggested are for a main-course size.
Grilled Salmon Salad with Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette:
For each plated salad, you'll need: 
4 c. loosely packed fresh baby spinach, washed, dried, and stemmed (see Note) 
About ¼ c. edamame beans (These are available in your grocer’s freezer case)
About ¼ c. toasted pine nuts (See Note)
4 - 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
Enough cubed chèvre (soft goat cheese) to sprinkle atop each plated salad
5 or 6 slivers of ripe quartered pear, skin on, poached in apple juice just until soft and drained
1 4-oz. wild salmon fillet, about 1/2-in. thick (see Note)
Prepare Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette and set aside. Preheat oiled barbecue grill or oiled, hash-marked stove-top griddle. Decant 2 tbsp. vinaigrette into separate bowl for brushing salmon filets on both sides. Do not pour leftover salmon vinaigrette back into salad dressing mixture. Transfer salmon to hot griddle or grill, cooking about 3 min. If salmon is thin enough, it won’t require turning.
Cook edamame beans in boiling, lightly salted water for 2 min. Drain in sieve; chill by running cold water over beans. Combine spinach, edamame beans, pine nuts, and cherry tomatoes in large bowl, mixing with just enough vinaigrette to moisten. Working quickly, transfer to chilled salad plates and sprinkle with bits of chèvre and poached pear. Top with piping hot salmon fillet. Serve at once.
Note: Packaged spinach needs no washing.
Note: See How to Toast Nuts in Index.
Note: The salmon fillets I used were acceptable, but a little too pale. Consider buying pre-cooked barbecued salmon; Costco sells it in the refrigerated deli area, hash-marks and all! A package of four filets costs less than $10.
Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette:
12 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil 
4 tbsp. red wine vinegar
6 tbsp. liquid honey
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
Whisk together all ingredients. This makes enough vinaigrette for about six salads, as well as enough to brush six salmon fillets on both sides. 

Dab fish with Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette 

Cube goat cheese to dot around salad

Toss spinach, beans, nuts, and tomatoes
with Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette

Ready for the table and dee-licious!

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