Crunchy Radish is primarily a plant forward food blog where I focus on the abundant and diverse ways to utilize plant-based whole foods. Despite leading mainly a vegetarian lifestyle, there is a time and a place where I fit in sustainable animal protein. For this installment of the crunchy radish summer salad series, vegetables monopolize a large amount of plate real estate, but it is the mustardy baked salmon that steals the show.
This salad is a riff on tuna niçoise, the classic French dish with lightly seared tuna, haricot verts, black olives, frisée, and egg all drizzled with a mustard dressing. For my version, I swap in wild salmon, asparagus, and larger meatier olives. Cooking the potatoes so that they are fork tender with a slight bite to the skin is ideal. It is also important to avoid overcooked, mushy, and limp asparagus. When having salads as mains you want the vegetables to shine, be fortifying, satisfying, and flavorful.
I like to reference the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch site or app, which helps detect ocean and health friendly seafood, when selecting sustainable salmon, or other fish. Wild-caught salmon is typically the "gold standard" for sourcing and eating salmon since the fish eats the ocean's bounty and swims freely. Farmed fish and seafood typically swim in congested and unsanitary waters, are fed a diet that is not customary and usually consists of corn and soy, and may also be treated with antibiotics. Additionally, fish farms produce byproducts that are detrimental to the environment and ecosystem. With any animal product that you put into your body, be a conscious consumer and know where your food comes from and how it was sourced.
Whole Foods Market offers sustainably farmed salmon and seafood. If you do go down this route, do your research and be mindful. Wild sockeye salmon, which is plentiful during the summer months, is used for this salad. The meat is a rich orange pink and high in omega 3 fatty acids.
To cook the salmon, a heavy layer of good quality preservative and sugar-free Dijon mustard was slathered over the flesh of the fish as it roasted for 10-12 minutes. This created a tender, moist, and extremely flavorful result. I always veer on the side of medium rare with my salmon as I like to maintain as much juiciness and flavor as possible. A garlic anchovy dressing serves as the finishing touch to this light, nutrient dense summer salad - giving you just what you need on a hot mid-summer night.
Mustardy salmon salad
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 1/2 lb baby potatoes (i like to select a variety of colors for diversity)
- 4 pasture-raised eggs
- 1 lb filet of wild sockeye salmon
- 1 to 2 tbsps dijon mustard (depending on your mustard affinity)
- 2 tbsps pitted kalamata olives
- 6 cups maché or frisée or a combo of both or other hearty greens
- 1 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
- 2 anchovy fillets
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp organic lemon zest
- juice of 2 lemons
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp golden balsamic vinegar
- kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus and lay out on a parchment paper-lined sheet tray. Toss with 1 tbsp of olive oil or avocado oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast for 10-15 minutes until tender. Place asparagus on a plate.
- Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. Rub the flesh of the salmon with dijon mustard, a pinch of salt, and black pepper. Place on same sheet tray that the asparagus cooked on and roast for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
- While the salmon and asparagus cook, place potatoes in a medium pot covered with an inch of salted cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender, 15−20 minutes. Remove potatoes to a strainer with a slotted spoon.
- In the same pot where the potatoes were cooked, return water to a boil, add the eggs, and cook for 8 minutes. Transfer eggs to an ice water bath and chill for at least 5 minutes. Peel and set aside.
- To make the dressing, finely chop the anchovies and place in a jar with the minced garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, and golden balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, and shake jar vigorously. Alternatively, place dressing ingredients into a bowl and whisk.
- To assemble, slice the potatoes and eggs in half. Using a fork, flake the salmon into large chucks, omitting the skin. Arrange lettuce on a platter and toss with two tbsps of dressing. Top the lettuce with potatoes, eggs, olives, asparagus, and salmon. Drizzle with the remaining salad dressing.