A healthy, delicious, beautiful salad – and the dressing doubles as part of the salmon glaze!
Greetings from London!
Scott and I are spending time with family in London. We arrived last Friday and time seems to be set on fast forward. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been here almost a week!
Cait (our daughter) and I start each day with a brisk, but peaceful, early morning walk along the River Thames, just minutes from their home. After that, the insanity begins! It’s a scurry to get showered and dressed, just in time to do the morning school “run” with our four grandchildren, aged 4-10, either by foot, bike or on the quintessential scooters. That’s how it’s done here in London, no carpools, school buses, etc. for the most part. And if you were a fly on the wall, watching us try to get everyone out the door in morning, you’d be certain that you’d landed precisely in the center of a 3-ring circus!
We love the walks to and from school each day though. It’s non-stop chatter, but we get to hold hands, tell stories and listen to what’s on their minds and in their hearts.
After everyone is safely delivered, things get a bit more relaxing. Scott and I will often stop at one of the charming local coffee shops along the way and get some TCSF work done while sipping cappuccinos. That just seems so appropriate here in London. Okay, to be honest, it might be the wonderful croissants and pastries that pull us in. It’s funny, before our daughter, Cait, moved to the UK seven years ago, I would never have thought of England as having fine pastry. But they really do, some shops even rivaling France!
If you live in London (or another large city) you can just skip the pictures below, as these are probably quite “everyday” to you. But for the rest of us, I thought it might be fun to see how our day begins here.
Did I forget the salmon salad?
No way! It’s been one of our favorite meals this fall. Light and lean, yet bursting with delicious flavor, this salad is easy enough for everyday and pretty enough for a dinner party.
The dressing is a fun fusion of Asian and autumn. Fresh ginger, rice vinegar and a splash of sesame oil are the Asian components. Maple syrup is a classic fall flavor that adds just a touch of sweetness.
I love that the dressing and glaze can be made in advance, making the salad easy to put together at the last minute. The dressing is also the base for the glaze – just add a few additional ingredients, give it a quick simmer and you’re done!
America’s Test Kitchen was my inspiration for the salmon. They came up with an easy, no-fail technique to achieve beautifully glazed salmon with a crisp golden crust and a moist, flaky interior. The secret is a mixture of sugar, cornstarch and salt that’s rubbed on the fillets before pan searing in a super hot pan. It only takes a few minutes, then they’re topped with a spoonful of glaze and popped into the oven to finish.
The salad itself is super simple to put together. When ready to serve, make a bed of arugula as a base and top with the glazed salmon, sliced pears, red grapes, golden raisins and pomegranate arils. Drizzle with the yummy Asian dressing and you’re done! It makes a delicious, healthy dinner (or lunch) and is wonderful paired with a basket of warm, crusty bread.
Try it! If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself craving it again and again!
LOTS OF PEOPLE ASK WHAT KIND OF COOKWARE, SMALL APPLIANCES, CUTLERY, ETC. I USE IN THE KITCHEN. HERE’S WHAT I USED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE.
- For the dressing:
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 small clove garlic, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
- 6 tablespoons sunflower or other mild tasting oil
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- For the Asian glaze:
- 2 tablespoons dressing
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon sriracha chili sauce*
- For the salmon:
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon corn starch
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 4 4-6-ounce salmon filets, with or without skin
- Asian glaze (recipe above)
- For the salad:
- 6-8 cups arugula
- 1 cup red grapes, halved
- ½ cup golden raisins*
- ½ cup pomegranate arils or seeds
- 1 large or 2 medium red or yellow pears, cored and sliced (leave peel on)
- For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid and shake, shake, shake. Set aside.
- For the glaze, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a steady simmer and cook for 3-5 minutes until thickened and syrupy.
- For the salmon, preheat oven to 300˚F. (150˚C).
- Combine brown sugar, salt, and cornstarch in small bowl. Pat salmon dry with paper towels and season with a generous sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture evenly over top of flesh side of salmon, rubbing to distribute. (If you’re using skinless fillets, rub brown sugar mixture over the nicest looking side of the salmon.)
- Heat oil in a large, oven-safe nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot and just starting to smoke. Place salmon, seasoned side down, in skillet and cook until well browned, about 1-2 minutes. Using tongs, carefully flip salmon and cook on opposite side for 1 minute.
- Remove skillet from heat and spread a teaspoon of glaze evenly over each salmon fillet. Transfer skillet to oven and cook 7-10 minutes, until center of thickest part of fillets registers 125 degrees on instant-read thermometer. Keep warm while you prepare the salads.
- For the salads, divide arugula between 4 dinner plates. Add salmon fillets over to one side of plate and drizzle each with another teaspoon or two of the glaze. Scatter salad with grapes, golden raisins and pomegranate arils. Arrange pear slices attractively on one side of salad. Drizzle with dressing and pass extra at the table.
Salmon technique adapted from America's Test Kitchen