Sometimes I overlook smoked salmon even though I really like it – it’s salty, savory and lean. Adding a bit of smoked salmon to fresh lettuce is one of the oldest tricks in the book for creating a flavorful, yet low maintenance salad. Of course, by low maintenance I mean homemade sourdough croutons, buttered potato crisps, and a bright herb dressing. Hey…in my world, that’s pretty reasonable.
I don’t know about you, but Arizona has been blazingly hot – aka in dire need of anything super clean, fresh and light. I guess that means no more goulash for a bit. In terms of lightness, this fresh lemon juice dressing really does the trick. Of course, if you have an aversion to dill, you could just as easily try fennel fronds (which are in season now).
Star Ingredient: salmon
Flavor Affinities: SALMON + DILL + LEMON + CAPERS
Tastes: smoky, bitter, sour, savory
Textures: crunchy, chewy
Wisdom: For a satisfying salad, it’s important to create dynamism through textures. That’s why this salad includes some raw foods and some cooked; that way, you get to experience how each ingredient mingles with different components of the salad.
Potato Crisps and Croutons
To add a little texture, there’s some thinly sliced red bliss potatoes and baked sourdough bread cubes (pictured above). Both get coated with melted butter and seasoned simply with salt.
Note: You’ll notice that the recipe has 2 steps for the potatoes: simmering in salted water to tenderize then baking until crispy. This is my best recommendation for getting perfectly golden, crispy potatoes. If you just straight bake them, the results won’t be the same.
When removing the potatoes from the simmering water, my favorite tool is called a spider – it’s basically a strainer that is ideal for lifting and draining food at the same time.
Before you get started, I want you to know why this salad recipe works. You will be seasoning with salt from the beginning of cooking (flavor layering) which enhances every ingredient more than if you just added salt at the end.
Hope this salad revitalizes you midday. Oh, and if you want to store leftovers, it’s never a good idea to combine dainty leaf lettuce with high water content food/dressing. Best practice is to store the components separately and assemble as needed.
Smoked Salmon Salad with Lemon Dill Dressing
- 2 small red skinned potatoes, sliced 1/4" thick
- 2 slices sourdough bread, cubed
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
- salt, for seasoning
- 1 seedless cucumber, sliced thinly
- 2 oz cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 avocado, diced
- 4 oz smoked salmon, cut into small pieces
- 1 head red leaf lettuce, washed, dried, and torn into bite size pieces
Lemon Dill Dressing Ingredients
- 1 lemon
- 1/2 tsp capers
- 1 tsp minced fresh dill
- 1/4 tsp dijon
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Fill a small pot halfway with water and season with 2 large pinches of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the sliced potatoes and simmer on medium heat until mostly tender, 8 minutes. Strain the potatoes and spread out onto a baking sheet tray.
- Drizzle the melted butter over the potatoes, reserving a bit for the cubed bread. Use the remaining butter by rubbing the croutons against the bowl to soak up the butter. Place bread cubes on the tray with the potatoes and season with salt. Bake 15 minutes. Remove the croutons when they are golden and crispy. Flip the potatoes and cook another 15 minutes.
- Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk. Toss with the lettuce at the last moment. Serve with cut vegetables, croutons, and potatoes.
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