I wish I could tell you Kula Baby eats salmon salad with the same gusto he shows Sweet Greens, but I can’t lie. He usually eats the polenta cakes plain. When I try to offer him a taste of salmon salad, he scrunches his nose and gives me a look that says “if we were the last two people on earth and you made me this salad I’d choose to starve to death instead of partaking in your tangy caper creation.” Or something along those lines.
HOWEVER, I believe with all of my heart that somebody’s child should eat this because it is so darn good. Seriously, I dream about this salad. So, I’m giving you the recipe with the hope that your child will show the culinary fortitude my child clearly lacks.
Or maybe it will become your adults-only date night dinner, too. The meals we make don’t always have to be for the kids, do they?
I started playing around with this recipe with my friend Amy in Corte Madera, CA. We hosted a baby shower together in December and spent two days chatting and cooking in her newly remodeled, double oven, fabulous kitchen. I got a little too attached to her kitchen over the weekend if I’m being completely honest.
Amy and I thought salmon was the perfect dainty food for a ladies’ luncheon so we decided to whip up a salmon creation of our own that morning….because experimenting with a new recipe is exactly what you want to do when you have 15 women coming for lunch in 2 hours. Talk about living on the edge. We started with grilled salmon, mixed it with mayo, dill, lemon, capers, and then served it on cucumber slices. We thought we were: 1) super duper dainty 2) genius– because clearly we were the first people to think of the caper/salmon/dill/lemon mix.
You’re laughing with me, not at me….right?
Since my time with Amy I’ve taken the mayo out of our original recipe and added a little goat cheese. I started serving it over parmesan polenta cakes and a tossed salad instead of cucumber because my husband isn’t down with cucumber slices for dinner. He’s so weird.
Salmon Salad with Polenta (serves two adults and a child)
1 fillet of wild Alaskan salmon
1 tbsp finely chopped red onion (you can add more if you like onion)
1/8 cup finely chopped fresh dill and cilantro
2 tsp capers plus about 1 tsp caper juice (I add more juice because I like it tangy)
Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus a little zest
Organic goat cheese, crumbled (optional, of course)
1 organic polenta “chub” (this is pre-made polenta you can buy at Trader Joes.)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Salad and dressing:
Organic baby greens
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon
3/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped (fresh is the best)
salt and pepper
1) Heat up a griddle or add oil/butter to a frying pan on the stove. Slice polenta chub into 1/2 inch slices and lay 8 or so on the griddle or in the pan. (I put butter on the griddle too, this allows the polenta to turn golden brown and get really pretty and I love serving pretty food.) Grill polenta 4 minutes per side or until golden brown. After you have flipped the polenta to grill the second side, put a little shredded parmesan on the top of each slice and let it melt.
2) Once you have started the polenta, get to work on the salmon. Sprinkle salmon with salt, pepper and a little lemon juice. Cook in oven for 10-15 minutes at 375 degrees (length depends on how thick your fillet is).
3) While the salmon is cooking, mix the onion, herbs, lemon zest, capers and caper juice in a bowl. Squeeze in a little lemon juice and sprinkle mixture with salt and pepper mix. Flake cooked salmon into the bowl and mix. Taste and add more caper juice, capers, lemon, salt as needed. If you like tangy, go for more caper juice! Once the mixture is combined, let it cool a little. Sometimes I make this ahead of time and put in the fridge. Once it has cooled a little you can add the crumbled goat cheese and it won’t melt. HOWEVER, if you add the goat cheese to warm salmon and it melts, it ends up acting like mayo and it’s still yummy so don’t worry one way or the other.
4) Make salad dressing (you can make this ahead of time):
Combine chopped garlic cloves, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
5) Toss baby greens with salad dressing.
6) To assemble salad, place greens on a plate, put polenta cakes on the greens and then top polenta cakes with salmon salad mixture.