A big THANK YOU to Marcia Calvin, one of my fellow members of the Wakefield Unitarian Universalist Church, for bringing this lovely salad to our church potluck picnic last Sunday!
I love potlucks. They provide a wonderful opportunity to try new dishes and enjoy old favorites such as Mary Adele Taylor’s deviled eggs. Yum! 🙂
The only drawback is that, with so many different items, it can sometimes be a bit difficult to really appreciate a unique dish, such as this interesting combination of fruit and fish, at a potluck. Also, Marcia had thoughtfully provided the dressing on the side for those who may want to save some calories and I forgot to add the dressing when I tried the salad. But, I was very intrigued and wanted the whole experience, so I asked for the recipe.
I am thinking Marcia should do a cooking blog, too. Along with the recipe, she provided detailed notes and also included what looks to be a a great recipe for baked fish. I’ll have to try that one soon!
So, here is the recipe, noting a few options beyond the recipe that Marcia shared with me:
Salmon Summer Fruit Salad
1 shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
5 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil (one version calls for just 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons pecans (walnuts work fine) OR
1 tablespoon honey (one version has honey instead of nuts)
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, or more, to taste
3 cups torn leaf lettuce
2 cups torn Bibb lettuce (I used mostly romaine and some of whatever type is in my garden)
1 (7.5-oz.) can pink salmon, drained, skin and bones removed – or buy fresh and cook it yourself.
2 medium nectarines, sliced (or equivalent of chunks of orange)
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1. In small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients; beat with wire whisk until blended.
Use a small food processor and pulse to mince the shallot and green herbs first, then add the nuts and pulse to coarsely chop, then add the vinegar, oil, and lemon juice (and honey if using instead or in addition to nuts) and pulse just until blended.
2. In large bowl, combine all salad ingredients except raspberries. Drizzle with dressing; toss gently to coat. Gently fold in raspberries.
Serve on individual salad plates or in Tortilla Salad Shells.
Tip: The dressing can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for several hours or overnight.
I made the salad a few hours before heading out to a Linden Tree Coffeehouse* volunteer appreciation party on June 18 and decided to bring it with me to get additional opinions beyond Steve’s and mine. WELL!!!! It was a resounding success! So much so that Steve didn’t get a chance to try it that evening. So, I made it again the next day.
Upon arriving home with more raspberries and salmon, I realized that I had forgotten nectarines, although, the chances of getting ripe ones were small anyway. In fact, after receiving the recipe and purchasing the ingredients mid week, it was not until Friday that the nectarines were ripe enough to use.
So, there I was, and I didn’t want to got back to the store again, anyway. But, since the dressing contains lemon juice, I suspected that one could substitute with an orange. Just to make sure, I searched online for recipes with salmon and orange. That’s when I found on very similar to the recipe Marcia sent me that had honey instead of nuts in the dressing, either one a thickening source, I am guessing. Just use honey if you want it more sweet or don’t have pecans or walnuts on hand.
And, speaking of substitutes, online research told me that walnuts are a good substitute for pecans, so, since walnuts were what I had, that is what I used. And, I suppose you could use onion instead of shallot, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you used Vidalia or other sweet type of onion. But, frankly, I am a huge fan of shallots and always make sure to have plenty on hand.
Bottom line is that this salad is excellent with either nectarines or fresh chunks of orange. I saw recipes with salmon, that call for canned manderin orange pieces, also, so that would be another option.
A few more notes: I used mostly romaine lettuce, because that is what I had in my fridge. I did supplement it with greens from my box garden, though.
I am pretty amazed by how prolific this lettuce is. I picked 7 or eight leaves total two days in a row and it seems to grow back overnight. Now I need to really leave it alone so it has a chance to really get going!
And, the final note: Rather than used canned salmon, Marcia bought fresh salmon and cooked it herself, which was an excellent touch to her version. And, I’d recommend doing that if you have the time and can find some good fresh salmon. But, I do think, flavor-wise, the canned works quite well, since there are so many other flavors going on in this dish.
But, whatever you do, I recommend trying this recipe. It is especially good for potlucks because, along with tasting great, the unexpected mix of ingredients is a great conversation starter.
* Along with a fun jam session later in the evening at the Linden Tree Coffeehouse party, we were treated to excellent music by Gail Rundlett and her son Julian. Gail really liked the salad, by the way. 🙂