Layered Salmon Salad with Avocado Dressing Recipe
4 cups shredded lettuce
2 cups shredded cooked salmon
2 tablespoons capers
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 cups chopped fresh tomato
1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives (optional)
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
2 avocados, peeled and pitted
3/4 cup plain yogurt
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash ground cumin
In a deep 3 or 4 quart glass bowl, layer lettuce, salmon, capers, onion, tomato, olives, goat cheese and pine nuts. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a food processor, purée avocados until smooth. Add yogurt, lime juice, garlic, salt and cumin; blend just two or three turns to mix. Add salt and pepper as needed. Spread over top of salad. Cover and chill for several hours or overnight. If desired, you can toss the salad before serving.
Smoked salmon is a true delicacy. It’s flaky, smoky and a flexible main ingredient for a variety of dishes. Often, it is thinly sliced and served on bagels with cream cheese or on Melba toast with sliced red onion, lemon and capers. You might even find smoked salmon in patés, quiches, pasta sauces and even scrambled eggs.
According to resources, in the Atlantic basin all smoked salmon comes from the Atlantic salmon, much of it farmed in Norway, the East coast of Canada and Chile. In the Pacific, all of Alaska’s salmon come from wild Pacific species. These Pacific species are commonly known as Chinook, sockeye, coho, chum and pink salmon.
Most smoked salmon is cured by a process called “cold smoking,” typically around 99 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold smoking does not cook the fish, resulting in a delicate texture. This process can often impart an ‘oaky’ style with the fish’s prolonged exposure to the smoke from oak chips.
Smoked salmon may also be prepared with a “hot smoking” technique. This process cooks the salmon and results in a less moist, firmer result with a less delicate taste. Salmon prepared in this manner is ideal for salads and mixing into pasta dishes.
This recipe was inspired by the Stetson Chopped Salad at Cowboy Ciao Restaurant in Scottsdale, Ariz. I especially love this twist on the traditional chopped salad for the spiciness of the arugula, saltiness of the toasted pepitas and the smokiness of the salmon.
1 cup basil pesto
2 shallots, chopped
2 cups mayonnaise
2 cups buttermilk
Juice of 1 lemon
4 ounces Asiago cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup toasted pepitas (Mexican pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup currants
1 cup chopped seeded plum tomatoes
1 cup corn kernels
1 cup chopped baby arugula
1 cup cooked Israeli (pearl) couscous
4 ounces chopped smoked salmon
To make the dressing: Place the pesto, shallots and mayonnaise in a food processor and blend. With the motor running, pour in the buttermilk. Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Blend. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before using.
To make the salad: In a small mixing bowl, stir together the cheese, pepitas and currants. Set aside. In 4 shallow serving bowls or rimmed plates, arrange the salad ingredients in rows in the following order – tomatoes, corn, cheese mixture, arugula, couscous and salmon. Serve the dressing on the side.
Make ahead: The dressing and cheese mixture can be made up to 2 days ahead. Store the dressing, covered in the refrigerator.
[Photo courtesy of Cowboy Ciao, Scottsdale, AZ]