Pan-Roasted Salmon Nicoise
Here’s a fabulous presentation of traditional and not-so-traditional ingredients that’s equally great for an intimate dinner for two (shown here) or for a crowd.
Don’t be put off by what seems at first glance to be a long list of instructions – much of the work is done ahead of time and all that’s left to do before serving is to arrange the food on plates or on a platter (if you don’t have one, cover a tray with foil and use that instead). You need only a pitcher of iced tea or a chilled bottle of wine, some crusty bread and dinner’s ready. I’ve provided a list of ingredients here for two but the recipe can easily be adapted for a larger group. You will need:
• New baby Yukon Gold potatoes, 6-8
• Eggs, 2 large
• Green onions, 1 bunch of 6, trimmed and chopped
• Mayonnaise, preferably Hellman’s
• Dijon mustard
• Green beans
• Vine-ripened cherry tomatoes
• Pitted Kalamata olives
• Balsamic vinegar
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Salmon fillets, 7oz each, 3 or 4 (2 for this meal, 1-2 for leftovers)
Pre-heat the oven to 450F.
Put the potatoes in a pot with enough cold water to cover, add at least a teaspoon of sea salt and bring to a boil; cook for about 15-20 minutes or until just tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Drain and set aside.
Meantime, put two eggs in a small pan with cold water to cover and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes then remove from the heat and hold the pan under cold running water. When the eggs are cool enough to handle, place them in a small bowl and put them in the freezer for about 2 minutes. This keeps the yolks nice and yellow. Set the eggs aside.
Steam the green beans for about 3 minutes or until just tender, remove from the heat and cool on a paper towel.
Cut the cherry tomatoes in quarters; cut the olives in half then combine the two.
Make a simple balsamic vinaigrette by combining 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil; season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Heat a dry oven-proof skillet (large enough to hold the salmon comfortably) over high heat for 5 minutes. Meantime, rub both sides of the salmon fillets with olive oil and season the tops liberally with salt and pepper. When the pan is very hot, place the salmon, seasoning sides down, in the pan and cook for 3 minutes until very browned. Turn the fillets and place the pan in the oven for 5-7 minutes until the salmon is cooked. Check for doneness by carefully touching the top of the fillet – if it is still wobbly it isn’t ready. VERY carefully removed the skillet from the oven using oven gloves and place on the stove top. Remove the salmon to a cutting board to cool slightly.
Cut the potatoes into bite sized pieces then place in a large bowl. Chop the eggs and add to the bowl along with the chopped green onions. Add 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise and a rounded teaspoon of Dijon, season with salt and paper and toss lightly to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Although this can be made well ahead, it tastes better if still warm.
Lay out 2 dinner plates and on each one start by placing green beans in the centre, place a salmon fillet on top then heap potato salad on one side and the tomato olive mixture on the other. Drizzle a little balsamic vinaigrette over the tomato/olive mixture and dinner is ready.
When the extra salmon fillet(s) is cold, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Smoked Salmon Salad
It’s almost worth roasting salmon fillets just for this dish it is so delicious. With pumpernickel bread it makes a great appetizer before a meal, with bagels it can be brunch. You will need:
• Leftover, cooked salmon fillet, flaked
• Smoked salmon, 6oz, thinly sliced
• Mayonnaise, preferably Hellman’s
• Celery, 2-3 ribs, chopped
• Capers, 1 tablespoon
• Chives, fresh
In a bowl combine the cooked salmon, smoked salmon, 2-3 tablespoons of mayonnaise, chopped celery and up to 1 tablespoon each of chopped capers and chives. Squeeze over fresh lemon juice and season to taste. Serve in a pretty dish garnished with chives and place some lemon slices alongside.