Poached Salmon Salad with Roasted Spring Vegetables and a Citrus, Herb and Green Olive Vinaigrette

(Originally paired with SCHUG Sonoma Chardonnay)

  • 1 ½ lbs. fresh salmon (sections from the tail are useful for salads- no bones!)
  • 1 large bulb fresh fennel
  • 1 lb. fresh asparagus spears
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bunch baby golden beets (5 or 6 small beets), leaves and roots removed
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and grated
  • 6 cups freshly washed and spun baby arugula leaves
  • 6 slices of good bread or baguette, toasted
  • 1 cup Citrus, Herb and Green Olive Vinaigrette, see below

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Place salmon pieces into the water and turn off the burner. Cover the pot with its lid and allow the salmon to poach for about 15 minutes. Check one of the thicker parts of the salmon to see if it is fully poached. If it is still rare inside let it poach a few minutes longer. Once the salmon is finished poaching, remove the pieces to a large plate to cool. When the salmon is cool enough to handle remove all skin, scales and other inedible parts. Break the meat into bite-sized chunks and put it into a medium bowl. Pour about ½ cup of the Green Olive vinaigrette over it. Gently fold the vinaigrette into the salmon pieces and set aside.

While salmon poaches, heat a small saucepan full of water until it boils. Add the baby beets and a large pinch of salt. Turn down flame so the beets simmer. Simmer beets 15-20 minutes or until they are tender. Remove beets to a plate to cool. Once the beets are cool enough to handle, remove their outer skins, trim them if needed, and then slice them into small wedges.

Meanwhile, cut the fennel stalks off the top of the bulb. Next, cut the fennel in half from the top down through the base. Then cut the bulb into thin wedges also from the top down. Next, snap the asparagus so they break where they are the most tender. Discard the tough stem ends.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Prepare a sheet pan by covering it with foil. Place the fennel wedges and the asparagus onto the foil and brush them on all sides with some olive oil. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and put them into the hot oven. Roast the vegetables for about 6 minutes or until browning nicely. Turn the vegetables over once and roast another few minutes or until they are tender and nicely browned. Remove from oven and allow vegetables to cool to room temperature.

Just before serving: Toss the arugula with a small amount of the vinaigrette. Divide the arugula among 6 serving plates, placing the greens in the center. Place roasted asparagus and fennel decoratively on the plate. Add the baby beets to the plate. Divide the dressed salmon into 6 portions, placing them onto each of the salads. Garnish each salad with a slice of toasted bread and some of the grated egg. Drizzle a bit more vinaigrette over each salad and serve immediately. Makes 6 salads.

Citrus, Herb and Green Olive Vinaigrette

  • 1 can plain green olives (6 oz., dry weight), drained
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • Zest from one lemon
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp. fresh tarragon leaves
  • 2 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 tbsp. capers, drained
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • Salt, to taste

Place all ingredients into a blender pitcher. Place lid on pitcher and process the vinaigrette until it is very green and completely blended. Correct for salt and vinaigrette is ready for use. Makes about 1 ½ cups vinaigrette.*

Vinaigrette can be stored in a jar or plastic container for up to one week. Color may change as lemon juice can affect green herbs. Extra vinaigrette is great on other salads or even grilled meats.

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