Surprisingly delicious: Salmon Caesar Salad

This week brought the sickies to our house. On Monday, the 4 year old came down with a bug. Of course this happened right when I planned to hit the grocery store…so we had scrap the meal plans and make do with whatever ingredients were already on hand. Would you believe, that is what produced this share-worthy recipe!

Original Plan:
Balsamic glazed salmon with a side of pasta alfredo or potatoes, and a tossed salad.

Plan B:
Whip up a protein-rich salad, served with hunks of homemade whole wheat French bread on the side.

Ingredients on hand:
4 frozen salmon fillets, a partial bag of romaine lettuce, box of baby arugula, 2 partial lemons, 2 avocados, a tomato, croutons, garlic, a hunk of parmesano reggiano cheese, a tube of anchovy paste, 2 eggs, dijon mustard, olive and vegetable oil, salt and pepper.

How it came together:
First, I scoured Pinterest for salmon salad recipes. I found quite a few that employed avocado and arugula, so then it was time to choose a salad dressing. I could’ve gone with a light Caesar-style vinaigrette or even just a lemon/oil dressing, but since this was going to be a main course salad, I wanted to give it a bit more heft. The egg yolks did precisely that. I went with the method on Bon Appetit to make my dressing – except I used a squirt of anchovy paste instead of whole anchovies. Thank goodness I happened to have that stuff in the fridge, and it was still good! I made the dressing in the morning so it would have plenty of time for the flavors to develop.

photo courtesy of Bon Appetit

In the afternoon, I made my French bread. I let it rise too long on the second rise, so it ended up falling…OOPS! But it was still pretty good dipped in olive oil. It tasted like a cross between French and focaccia.

Just prior to dinnertime, I took my thawed-out salmon fillets and patted them completely dry with paper towels. Do not skip this step. Throwing a soggy piece of fish in the frying pan will make you and your dinner companions feel soggy and dissatisfied too. Then, I seasoned it up with plenty of fresh ground salt and pepper. I drizzled a healthy glug of olive oil into the hot pan, and added the salmon. It cooked about 4 minutes on the first side, then only another minute or two after flipping. Near the end, I added the last bit of lemon juice that was leftover from making the salad dressing.

While the salmon sizzled away, I threw a mixture of torn up romaine and baby arugula into each bowl, then topped it off with diced avocado – about 1/3 an avocado per bowl. I added sliced tomatoes around the edge – yeah, I know, Caesar is no place for tomato! But in my hubby’s world, a salad’s not a salad without a tomato. I skipped them for myself but gave plenty to the guys. Then I shaved some additional parmesan on top, and drizzled a little dressing. As soon as the salmon was done, I served it atop the salads, drizzled more dressing, and threw croutons around the edge.

The result:
WOW! I really didn’t expect to enjoy this dish that much. I’m not a seafood lover, so usually when I cook with salmon I make sure to include plenty of yummy sides so I’ll have other flavors to balance it out. But, surprisingly (hence the title), this salmon just married itself to the pile of yummy greens and heavenly dressing! It didn’t taste “fishy” at all. The protein gave this salad just enough bulk to be a main course. It was full of good fats, too – avocado, omega-3s in the fish, olive oil, and the egg yolks. It got a thumbs-up from everyone at my dinner table – even the kiddos! I know most kids aren’t as open to trying new foods, but I was thrilled to see my little foodies devour this experimental dinner!

My apologies for the lack of photographic evidence…we devoured this meal too quickly to snap any pics! But next time, and mark my words there *will* be a next time, I will be to update this post with a visual aid. Until then, I hope you’ll try it and enjoy it as much as we did!

In His abundance,