BLT Salmon Salad with Herbed Dressing

by Marina Chotzinoff

It seems to be the season for little kid birthday parties which lately means early lunches of hot dogs, cupcakes and ice cream. And this might seem alarming if today’s party didn’t feature Denver’s famous Biker Jim himself serving up elk, venison, veal and pheasant hot dogs followed by tiny, luscious chocolate and hazelnut ice cream cones from Little Man Ice Cream. Not too shabby for a three year old’s shin dig.

Nonetheless, I was needing dinner to involve something green, raw and crunchy and settled on a blt salmon salad. Ok, so it has bacon and crispy salmon skin, but I’m feeling short on omegas and bacon vitamins and it’s a match made in heaven, so be it, amen.

I often make this with leftover chicken and the dressing can involve just about any combination of herbs, though basil and tarragon tend to be requisite for me. Lemon zest and juice brighten things up as do sweet tomatoes. I then tend to add any other raw, crunchy things I can find like cucumber, sugar snap peas or leftover asparagus. You can toss or drizzle the dressing and/or pile the lot on some crusty bread for a sandwich.

Herbed Dressing:
1 cup packed herbs (today’s was parsley, basil, fennel fronds)
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar

3 pieces bacon, sliced
12 ounces salmon, skin on if you wish
1 cup assorted cherry tomatoes, chopped
1/2 english cucumber, seeded and sliced
salad greens

Finely chop all herbs and zest and mix with remaining dressing ingredients. Alternately, pulse herbs in a food processor and add remaining items to mix.

Brown bacon, remove to a paper towel and pour off all but 1 T fat.

Pat salmon dry and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, skin side down, until skin is browning and crispy. Flip and cook a couple minutes more until cooked to your preference. Blot skin on paper towel and allow to cool enough to handle. Remove skin and slice into strips. Scrape off any grey bits from the salmon and break into chunks.

Arrange greens, tomato, cucumber, salmon, bacon and skin on a platter and serve with dressing.

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