Sunday, April 13, 2008

Grilled Salmon Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

Recipe: Grilled Salmon Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

What can be better than the first few perfect spring days? Outside the pear and plum trees are just a day or two from bursting into fluffy white and pink blossoms, pink and white hyacinths line the flower bed which will later feature zinnias or marigolds, clumps of yellow and white-and-yellow daffodils are nodding their trumpets in the breeze… I simply cannot get enough of it!

My blog entries suffer when the weather is beautiful. With 50+ acres, there is always something that I want (need) to do outside except in the very coldest months. Meals are not nearly as well-planned as they are on those cold, rainy, snowy days (weeks! months!) when there's really not much else that I am interested in doing. When I've been working outside all day, meals are put together quickly, without the added steps of measuring (when it’s 7:30pm and I’m starving, well, I just don’t want to take the time). And I can’t post recipes without measurements, right?

Today it is cool and rainy, so house cleaning and bread baking are my top two things to do. However, I do have an incredible grilled salmon salad recipe to share.

I know that many people use their outdoor grills all year round, even in the northeast. But I’ve always been a bit funny about doing “seasonal” things. To me, eating cantaloupe in January is just plain wrong, as is grilling a dinner in February. I can’t make myself eat grapefruit in August, or make a nice, hearty soup then, either. I do so enjoy traditionally seasonal foods when they are in season, and seasonal recipes as well. To me, they just wouldn't be as "special" if I were to prepare them year round.

Our first grilled meal of the year is always an occasion to celebrate. Last October I soaked and scrubbed the grids of our natural-gas grill, vacuumed the burnt stuff off of the fake briquettes, wiped the entire grill down with a vinegar and water solution, stuffed steel wool in any exterior openings to keep spiders out, and covered it securely for the winter. This past Wednesday, with the temperatures in the mid-70’s and the sky a gorgeous blue color, the cover and steel wool plugs were removed. Dinner was hurriedly put together since I had spent a long time trimming spirea bushes. I made grilled salmon with a chipotle rub, rice, and grilled bell peppers and tomatoes. Very basic. I used a large salmon filet and refrigerated about a third of it for the next day’s lunch.

It is a rare occasion when I can get Jack to accept salad as a meal. To him, salad is something to go ­with the meal, a sort of an afterthought. I’ve tried for almost 25 years to dispel this way of thinking, but I’ve only succeeded in a very small way. Occasionally, if a nice piece of grilled chicken or fish can be placed on top of the lettuce and vegetables, a salad can make do for lunch. Never, ever for dinner though!

This salad was perfect for a beautiful spring afternoon.

I didn’t have a lot of salad-type ingredients on hand since I planned to go grocery shopping the next day, but there was enough. I used Romaine lettuce, which Jack prefers because of its crunchy texture, baby spinach, cucumbers, and additional blueberries. The previously-grilled salmon was warmed a bit in the microwave, then chunked over the greens. I decided to boost the nutritional value of the salad by adding a blueberry vinaigrette. We all know that salmon is packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and that blueberries have great antioxidant benefits, so to put both together in a dish makes it an delicious, incredibly healthy meal. And wild salmon has about 18% less calories than farm-raised.

Previously, I have only made this vinaigrette with fresh blueberries, and I am pleased to say that frozen work just as well. I use plain lowfat or nonfat yogurt to add a creamy texture and keep the olive oil down to the very minimum. If I don’t have shallots on hand, I will use about 2/3 of the amount of onion, 1/3 of garlic. And dried thyme can be subbed for the fresh (at a small taste difference), but use only about a third of the amount of dried.

The blueberry vinaigrette is also excellent on grilled chicken salads, and in a salad of mixed greens and goat cheese. In fact, if Jack liked goat cheese, it would have been added to this salad, too.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Blueberry Vinaigrette

Recipe By: Vicci

Servings : 4

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

--------- ---------- ------------------------------------------

1/3 cup fresh blueberries -- (frozen may also be used)

1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar -- I prefer white balsamic, although a very good, mild dark
balsamic will be very good, too

3 tablespoons plain lowfat yogurt

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon minced shallot

3/4 teaspoon dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon fresh thyme -- minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper -- (may also use black pepper)

Process or blend all of the ingredients until most of the mixture is smooth, but some pieces of blueberry remain.

Transfer mixture to a large bottle and chill overnight to meld flavors.

This will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per serving: 64 Calories (kcal); 5g Total Fat; (72% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 4g Carbohydrate; 1mg Cholesterol; 154mg Sodium

Food Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates

A note about wild salmon versus farm-raised. I’ve read many articles ranging from those in the local newspaper to Eating Well magazine, and it does seem as though wild salmon edges out farm-raised in many ways. What sealed the wild salmon decision for me, however, is that it is a nice deep pink-red color (no dyes added, like in the farm-raised) and that it just doesn’t have a strong, permeating smell while it is being cooked (which farm-raised salmon does). Wild-caught salmon is more expensive, but we decided to stock up when it does go on sale, and just deal with the cost.

1 Comment:

Lina said...

That looks like an excellent dish!