I was thinking back to summers of my childhood, when all of us kids wreaked havoc at home and my mom, Neeners, was at her wits end, often looking heavenward and muttering ‘Give me Strength’. When Neeners was at this point, I got shipped off to spend the night with my grandparents and Aunt Margie, and it was always a huge treat. If I was there on a Saturday night, it meant popcorn and watching Portland wrestling. If I was an overnight guest on a Monday night, that meant that I could horn in when Margie and grandma’s friend Gladys would come for lunch on Tuesdays. Gladys worked downtown (two blocks from Margie’s house) at the hardware store. I was not a fan of Gladys. She seemed pretty snooty and never smiled. Also, she was not a fan of children and I could not understand why since I was undoubtedly charming and most likely a brilliant conversationalist at six years of age. However, Glady’s arrival meant we got to have grandma’s Salmon Salad for lunch. This was high living, and as a kid we never had such things at our own house. Looking back, I think it was just canned salmon, shredded iceberg lettuce and a whole lot of Miracle Whip all stirred together and served on nice dishes.
I have such fond memories of those visits (without Gladys) and wanted to recreate Salmon Salad in my own style. This salad is hearty enough for supper and takes advantage of all that is Summer. We’ll start with fresh salmon, and you can either grill or bake it to suit your mood. Then comes the garden bounty. I went a little bit nuts here since I am currently in major panic mode due to our garden churning out more food than we can give away, so take what you like and leave the rest, for another time. The salmon sits on a bed of rainbow chard, and is topped with fresh yellow and red beets, colorful sweet peppers, watermelon radish, purple carrots, scallions, grilled corn, fresh blackberries and steamed green beans. Add some grilled bread with garlic butter and a not-too-tart vinaigrette made with blackberry jelly. I’d like to think Margie and grandma would have enjoyed it, but even if they didn’t, they’d tell me they loved it, because that’s what aunts and grandmas do.
Let’s just get to the point of all this…salads are FUN to make. Let your imagination run wild, take a peek in your fridge and go for it. In our household, we start every supper with a huge salad – and I mean huge. Our salads fill an entire dinner plate, and we eat every drop. Just remember to think about different tastes, textures, and colors. And don’t forget to treat yourself to a slice of good blue cheese if you are so inclined, and a big slice of crusty bread. If you don’t enjoy vinaigrettes, grab your favorite dressing. It’s also fun to add some steamed vegetables to the fresh ones in your salads. I like to add fresh steamed broccoli, green beans, and even cauliflower sometimes. And please don’t think I’m totally crazy, but fresh fruit is also a nice treat, especially during the summer months. Blackberries and salmon are good buddies, and taste delicious together.
For this recipe, salmon can be grilled right along side of the corn, or baked in the oven. Whatever you like best is the name of the game. Lay down a bed of greens (I chose Rainbow Chard since our garden has been overcome with it), then put the salmon filet right down in the center and start piling on whatever your heart desires.
Hope you have fun with this one, and thanks so much for reading today!! Happiest of summers, everyone. xoxoxo
Thanks so much for dropping by. Hope you can join us again next time!
- FOR THE SALAD (NOTE: This is how I made the salad, but PLEASE feel free to change it up to suit what you have on hand, what you like, and what colors, flavors, and texture combinations feel right).
- 1 Salmon Filet
- 3-5 ears of fresh corn, outer leaves and silk removed
- Several slices of the artisan bread of your choice, buttered on each side
- 1 large bunch of rainbow chard or other lettuce type greens of your choice cut into ½ slivers along the width of the leaf. Some people cut the stems out first, but I don’t bother with it.
- 4 green onions, sliced on the bias
- 1 watermelon radish, thinly sliced
- 1 small yellow and 1 small red raw beet, thinly sliced
- 1 yellow and 1 orange sweet pepper, sliced into ¼ x 1-inch pieces
- 3-4 purple carrots, made into long curls with a vegetable peeler (NOTE: I just do this because its fun and I like how it looks, but feel free to cut the carrots any way you want)
- ½ pound of fresh green beans, steamed until just tender and cooled to room temperature.
- 1 cup fresh blackberries, rinsed
- FOR THE BLACKBERRY JELLY VINAIGRETTE
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 heaping tablespoon blackberry jam or jelly (or other dark berry jam or jelly)
- 3 tablespoons blackberry balsamic vinegar (or other dark berry balsamic vinegar)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- FOR THE SALAD
- Heat your grill to medium high.
- Brush the corn with oil, and season with salt. Grill until tender, or until some of the kernels become slightly charred. Remove from heat. When cooled to room temperature, remove the corn kernels with a sharp paring knife. The safest way to do this is to set the corn in a small baking dish, large side down. Hold the corn by the tip, and using a very sharp paring knife, cut down the length of the cob.
- Season the salmon with salt and pepper (NOTE: I found this brand-new seasoning I just have to tell you about: It’s from Penzy’s Spices and is called Chicago Seasoning. This firs time I had this on salmon, I swore I was eating smoked salmon. The seasoning mixture has hickory smoke in it – it’s wild).
- Grill on medium high heat or bake in a 350-degree oven until just cooked through.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Place the sliced bread on the grill and grill just for a couple of minutes on each side, until char marks appear and butter is melted. Remove from heat.
- Now you’re ready to assemble:
- Lay the slivered chard down to form your salad base. Sprinkle with green onion.
- Place the salmon filet on the chard.
- Grab the peppers, radish, beets, and carrots, and arrange around the salmon.
- Sprinkle the grilled corn kernels over the salad.
- Arrange the steamed green beans around the ends of the platter.
- Top the salad with the blackberries.
- Pass the vinaigrette and dive on in!!
- FOR THE BLACKBERRY JELLY VINAIGRETTE
- In a small bowl or blender, combine the olive oil, jelly or jam, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper.
- Blend until mixed well.