Friday, February 21, 2014

dreaming of spring - a salad to get you through February

We just returned from a brief trip to southern Florida, and I'm craving food reminiscent of warmer weather.  This salad seems to do the trick - it combines the fresh flavors of a southern climate, with a cozy creaminess that February demands.  It's a simple recipe, sure to keep you content while you're dreaming of spring.  As a bonus,  it's completely paleo friendly )Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free).

The dressing used in this recipe really ties everything together.  It's creamy, with a hint of smoke from the paprika, at the same time, bright notes from the dill keep it fresh, and gently compliment the smoked salmon. It tastes even better with time, so I recommend making it a few days in advance. It will keep in the refrigerator for a week.

Green Salad w Smoked Salmon
serves 4 as an appetizer, or 2 for an entree w/ a bit leftover


for the dressing
1/2 cup vegennaise, or mayonnaise
1 Tbls of dijon mustard
1 1/2 Tbls of cider vinegar
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp paprika ( i prefer hungarian hot paprika for an added kick)
1/4 Cup fresh dill -  chopped, plus a bit more for garnish if desired
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
pinch of sea salt -  (I always keep the sea salt close at hand, to add to the finished salad if need be)

for the salad
1 head of Romaine lettuce
1 head of red leaf lettuce
handful of watercress
handful of arugula
(handful of any greens you have available will suffice for the arugula and the watercress)

1/2 red onion, sliced
handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, diced

16 oz smoked salmon (make sure it's pre-sliced for your convenience)


for the dressing
Make ahead of time if possible.
Combine all of the ingredients for the dressing into a small mixing bowl and using a fork, or a small whisk, combine thoroughly. Cover, and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. 
Another way to do this, and my preferred method, is to use a clean jelly jar,  or a mason jar.  Add all of the ingredients, screw on the lid, and shake, shake, shake until the mixture is homogenous.  Leave it in the jar, and keep in the refrigerator.

for the salad

Taking the romaine and the red leaf lettuces,  remove about an inch of the base - leaving some of the crispier light colored stem for added texture.
I use a serrated knife** to "slice" the lettuce into rounds starting from the base.   In a large salad bowl combine the lettuces with additional handfuls of watercress and arugula.  Add the onion, avocado, and the tomatoes.

Drizzle 2-3 tlbs of the dressing onto the greens and lightly toss to coat evenly. You can always add more dressing to taste *note: wait until you're ready to serve the salad before dressing it, otherwise the lettuces will become soggy.

When you're ready to serve the salad,  divide the greens onto individual bowls or plates, all depending on your menu or portion size.  If the smoked salmon is pre-sliced, it should be easy to roll each slice and again, depending on your portions,  add between 2 and 4 smoked salmon rolls to each salad.  Drizzle with a bit more dressing.  You can add a sprig of fresh dill, and a bit of freshly ground pepper to finish - and your salad is ready to serve.


**There is a bit of discussion surrounding the proper tools to use when cutting/ tearing lettuces.  I like to check with my friends over at Cooks Illustrated, and here is what they have to say.  Either way,  if you're preparing your salad fresh,  you don't need to worry a'tall!

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