Sunday, March 28, 2010

Fresh & Simple - Blackened Salmon Salad with Homemade Vinaigrette

Come spring and summer we tend to eat a lot more salads as meals. I love using all of the wonderful fresh produce that is available this time of year, and as the beach weather gets closer its not such bad idea to lighten up our meals.

This blackened Salmon Salad is one of my favorites. My mom and I had it many years ago at a restaurant in Arizona. Since then, we've tried to replicate it to the best of our ability. I think we may have even improved on it over the years. The spice rub adds some nice "heat" to the salmon, and the baked capers add a wonderful flavor and texture. Let me also add, even if you are not a huge fan of capers, try baking them! They take on a whole new flavor and texture, and in my opinion make this salad great.

One of the best parts about this salad is you can prep most of it ahead of time. As usual, I got most everything prepped during my kid's nap time. You can even blacken the salmon, and chill it in the refrigerator until you are ready toss everything together. I know making your own spice rub and salad dressing may seem like too much work, but I promise, it's fast, simple, and so worth it!

Kid note: My son isn't big on salad or anything too spicy, so I left a small portion of the salmon unseasoned, and served him plain grilled salmon, with many of the fresh veggies from the salad on the side. He ate it all up!

Blackened Salmon Salad
serves 4 (meal size portions)

* 1 jar capers
* 1 pound fresh salmon fillet (skin removed)
* Spice Rub (see recipe below)
* 1 head red-leaf lettuce, chopped or 1 bag mixed greens
* 1 cucumber, sliced
* 2 stalks of celery, sliced
* 1 tomato, chopped (I used some mini-heirlooms)
* 1 avocado, sliced
* 1 cup crushed tortilla chips
* Homemade vinaigrette (see recipe below) If you are short on time, use your favorite bottled vinaigrette.


For capers:

Preheat oven to 350.
Drain capers, spread on a baking sheet lined with foil.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until capers are crispy.
Set aside until ready to toss salad.

For Salmon:

Heat grill to high.
Generously season both sides of salmon with the spice rub.
Place salmon on grill (skin side down). Grill until salmon is blackened with a nice crust, then reduce heat to medium and grill the other side of the fish, until cooked through. Total cooking time about 10-12 minutes.
Remove fish from the grill. Let cool, and break into bite size pieces. Set aside or refrigerate until you are ready to toss the salad.

For Salad:

Chop or slice lettuce and vegetables, and place into a large salad bowl. Just prior to serving, top with salmon, baked capers, and crushed tortilla chips. Toss with vinaigrette and serve.

Recipe for Spice Rub:

* 1 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1 teaspoon paprika
* 1 teaspoon onion powder
* 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
* 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (add more or less depending on heat preference)
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions: In small prep bowl or ramekin, mix all ingredients together. Rub onto fish. (If you have extra, save in a zip lock bag. It's also great on chicken and steak!)

Recipe for Vinaigrette:

* 1/2 cup olive oil
* 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
* pinch of kosher salt
* fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions: In small mixing bowl, whisk all ingredients together. Serve over salad.

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1 comment:

  1. Yummy Yummy Yummy! I made this for dinner tonight and wow - I am now in love with roasted capers! I am a huge fan of the "cook once eat twice" thought. So last night I made up 4 fillets of blackened salmon - we ate two with rice and steamed broccoli so yummy - then put the left over two in the fridge. Made them up tonight per your salad (minus the celery and with iceberg instead since I had some that needed to be eaten). Wonderful! Thanks to you we have been eating great this week! I had a goal to get more salmon and their heart healthy omega-3s into our diet and we will certainly be making this one again!