Warm Garlic Salmon on Mixed Greens

Friday May 27, 2016

Warm Garlic Salmon on Mixed Greens

One of the easiest main salads to make is a big pile simple mixed greens, whatever looked crisp and fresh at the produce market or what you have in the refrigerator door, with a fish fillet, sea scallops, a thin-pounded poultry palliard (recipe follows), or a fried egg nestled right on top. This sherry vinaigrette works with all three. Seek out the Sherry vinegar; it has one of the most mellow flavors in the world of vinegar and it quite addictive. You will have some extra dressing here for a second set of salads. This method for cooking the salmon in the microwave oven is from Victoria Wize, author of the Well-Filled Microwave Cookbook (Workman, 1996) with Susanna Hoffman, my bible for gourmet microwave cooking. It is delightfully fast and lives up to its name for it is terrifically moist and tasty. I also like this salad tossed with tomatoes and some black Gaeta olives from the deli olive bar.

Cooking Method: Microwave

Cook Time: 5 to 7 minutes

Serves 4

Sherry Vinaigrette

1/4 cup Sherry vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon coarse-grain mustard

1 tablespoon minced shallot

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2/3 cup light olive oil

Simple and Succulent Salmon

4 (1 3/4-pounds) salmon filets, 1/2-inch thick

3 large cloves garlic, sliced

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 bag (10-ounces) Italian salad green mix or baby lettuce mix, or 8                            cups mixed greens (such as red leaf lettuce, baby romaine or romaine                hearts, mâche, mizuna, Belgian endive spears, arugula, and baby                 spinach)

1/4 cup chopped green onions or parsley, optional

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, shallot, and season. Whisk in the oil in a steady stream. If you like a creamy dressing, whisk in 1 to 2 tablespoons sour cream or crème fraîche. Set aside. Makes 1 cup. You will not use all the dressing, so keep it in the refrigerator in a covered container.

Place the salmon in a microwave dish that will fit the 4 pieces in one layer. Sprinkle with the garlic, lemon juice, salt, and olive oil. Cover the dish with a lid or microwave plastic wrap. Microwave on High for 5 to 7 minutes, or until white curds form on top of the fish and edges are flaky but the center is still medium-rare. Remove from the oven and let stand 2 to 5 minutes while you toss the greens and set the table.

To assemble, place the greens in a big bowl and toss lightly with 1/4 cup of the dressing; adjust more dressing if you like. Divide the lettuce between 4 dinner plates. Set 1 piece of salmon on top of each salad. Garnish with green onions or parsley if you like. Have some dressing on the side, if desired, to drizzle the salmon. Serve immediately with hot rolls and butter.

Variation: Warm Chicken or Turkey Palliards on Mixed Greens

Cooking Method: Stovetop

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Serves 4

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves or turkey breast slices

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or basil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and gently pound with a flat mallet until 1/4 inch thick (turkey breast slices are already thin). Place on a plate and toss with oil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Heat a grill pan or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until nice and hot. Arrange the poultry pieces on the pan in a single layer and cook 4 minutes on each side, until browned and cooked through. Immediately place a breast on top of each salad and serve immediately.

Variation: Warm Pan-Seared Sea Scallops on Mixed Greens

Sea scallops are the large scallops (bay scallops are the small ones) and they are so tasty, they need no spicing up; a quick searing in a hot pan with oil and they are ready to top your salad. Definitely work in two batches; you don’t want to crowd the scallops and have them steam instead of brown.

Cooking Method: Stovetop

Cook Time: 10 to 14 minutes

Serves 4

1 1/2-pounds sea scallops (16 to 20 large), rinsed, patted dry with paper                             towels, and tough tendon muscle pulled off

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

About 4 tablespoons organic canola or vegetable oil

Place the scallops on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Heat nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until nice and hot with half of the oil. Arrange half of the scallops pieces in the pan in a single layer and cook 2 minutes on each side, until browned and cooked through; turn once and do not stir. When done, the scallops will be firm-springy to the touch and you can see on the sides that they have turned an opaque color; transfer to a plate and cover with foil. Wipe out the pan with paper towel, add the remaining oil and sear the remaining scallops. Immediately place 4 to 5 scallops on top of each salad and serve immediately.

Excerpted from Not Your Mother’s Weeknight Cooking, by Beth Hensperger. (c) 2008, used by permission from the Harvard Common Press.
Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2015

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.

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