There have been a lot of savory meals coming out of my kitchen lately. Beans, like… an alarming amount of beans since I discovered how easy they are to make in an Instapot. I’ve also been making what I lovingly refer to as Fridge Salads. Salads that are strong enough to sit in the fridge for a few days or however long it takes me to snack on them until they’re gone.
This salad stands the test of the fridge. It really stands apart from the Drake on Cake and Strawberry Crumble Pie I also have in there.
This recipe is inspired by and lightly adapted from my friend Maggie Battista’s book A New Way to Food. After cooking from this book for a handful of weeks it feels clear to me that Maggie knows how we cook and how we eat – with a balance of care and ease. It’s now a staple in my kitchen.
Maggie, in addition to being a cookbook resident in my kitchen, is also one of my dearest Boston friends soooo…
((!! I’ll be in Boston hanging with Maggie and The Fresh Collective on Monday May 6th! We’re getting together to discuss Storytelling on Instagram and if we’d love to see you there! Click here for more details. !!))
Here’s what you’ll need:
• Napa cabbage – a little guy because a little goes a long way. Warning: buying a Napa cabbage may lead to an obsession with quick pickling and sauerkraut making. Dive in.
• Wild salmon – this is a generous salad so plan to share of have leftovers. The salmon holds up really well with the cabbage.
• Cooked French Lentils though Maggie makes this salad with big couscous. Farro would also be a nice hearty grain.
• Strawberries because it’s spring though I suspect you can be creative with your fruit additions. What sounds good?
• Fennel, sliced and fronds as well as and sliced fresno chili peppers for loads of flavor.
• Citrus yogurt dressing with chives, enough for a few days because if we’re making some we might as well make plenty.
We’ll start by roasting this beautiful pinky pink wild salmon.
Salmon reminds me of my time living in Seattle when I took fresh, local salmon for grated and I couldn’t have afforded it even if I had taken note.
Well, I made it it terms of appreciation and finances (when I want to treat myself), so there is the occasional wild salmon in my oven.
For this salad, I roasted half of the thinly sliced fennel along with the salmon. The other half I kept fresh for the salad. You can choose any roasting or fresh variation of fennel that makes your heart happy.
While the citrus and fennel salmon roasts, start to layer the salad.
Napa cabbage is often something pass by at the grocery store, just because I sometimes get in a produce rut when I hit the aisle, but it slices so lovely and has a mild almost lightly sweet flavor. It really holds up in a salad that can easily become leftovers. A crunch is key.
To the cabbage we’ll add cooked lentils. I usually have a container of spiced and tender lentils in the fridge. They make for an easy egg scramble in the morning or a quick dinner in salads like this.
Extras include fresh fennel, sliced strawberries (though in winter little satsuma slices would be sweet), and sliced Fresno chili pepper. A hint of spice with the sweet fruit and earthy lentils.
Add a bit of creamy yogurt dressing while the fish cools and gently toss the mixture to start coating in dressing.
Once the salmon has cooled to touch, break into big bite-size chunks and add to the salad.
Drizzle more dressing as you’d like.
A few fennel sprigs, a few more chili slices, this salad is settling enough for dinner, makes for a showy spring dinner party addition, and would be a lovely leftover lunch the next day.
This is my last recipe share from A New Way To Food – it’s really such a lovely book and it’s a new favorite in my kitchen this year.
Salmon and Fennel Spring Dinner Salad
- Prep Time: 0 hours
- Cook Time: 0 hours
- Total Time: 0 hours
- For the Salad:
- 1 pound wild salmon filet
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 12 twists on a grinder of cracked black pepper, plus more for serving
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lime, thinly sliced
- 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 1 cups cooked french lentils
- 1/3 of a small Napa cabbage head, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
- 2 cups strawberries, washed and sliced
- 1 Fresno chili, thinly sliced
- fennel fronds, for garnish
- For the Dressing:
- (The below proportions allow for leftover dressing that you can use as a veggie dip or salad dressing for the following few days)
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt (any fat percentage you desire)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 4 teaspoons light honey, like clover honey
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
- 24 twists on a grinder of freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 small bunch chives, finely chopped
- To make the salad, start by placing a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and place salmon, skin side down on the paper. Sprinkle the salmon with salt and pepper. Place a few limes slices on each salmon filet. Sprinkle with half of the sliced fennel and olive oil. Roast for 12 to 18 minutes depending on the thickness of your salmon until the fish is firm and cooked through and the fennel has softened and started to brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- While the salmon roasts start to compose the salad. On a platter layer thinly sliced cabbage. Top with lentils, strawberries, and half of the Fresno chili slices.
- To make the dressing, add the yogurt, oil, lime juice, honey, salt, and pepper to a medium bowl. Whisk well to fully emulsify. Stir in the chives and chill until ready to use.
- Once the salmon is cool enough to handle, use a fork to break it into bite-sized pieces. Add the salmon bites and the lightly roasted fennel to the salad. Add the remaining half of the fennel and more chili slices as you’d like.
- Drizzle generously with dressing and toss gently to coat every bit of the salad.
- Enjoy room temperature or chilled topped with fennel fronds. This salad is tasty for several days so feel free to welcome leftovers.
Recipe adapted slightly from Maggie Battista’s A New Way To Food!
- Serving Size: 4 to 6
These photos were taken with my dear friend Jon Melendez.