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Salmon salad packed with nutrition and flavor

This light recipe from Sally McFadden of South Pasadena spoke to me during this busy time of year. This simply prepared salad offers the nutritionally packed combo of salmon and a dark, leafy green.

Poached salmon is incredibly versatile. It can be enjoyed warm or chilled, plain or mixed with other ingredients in a salad.

Unfortunately, this cooking method seems an intimidating task for many, but this flavorful and healthful preparation should be part of every cook's repertoire. No fancy equipment is needed, just a deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid. The key is to cook at a very gentle simmer, and just until the fish is opaque. The time will vary with the thickness of the fish.

Here McFadden uses a wine-based poaching liquid to which I have added fresh dill. Lemon slices are also a nice addition. McFadden tops the salmon with bottled dill salad dressing, but you can use a different creamy dressing or tartar sauce.

Quartered hard-boiled eggs and good-quality olives also go well with a poached salmon platter.

TONIGHT'S SOLUTION: Cool Salmon Salad

TO MAKE THE MEAL: Serve with rusty rolls and potato salad

If you have a great-tasting main dish recipe that uses no more than five ingredients and can be made in 30 minutes or less, tell us. (Salt, pepper, water and oil for greasing a pan don't need to be included in the ingredient count.) If we publish your recipe, we'll send you an apron with the 5:30 Challenge logo. Send recipes to 5:30 Challenge, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Eighth Floor, 72 Marietta St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30303; or e-mail fivethirty@ajc.com.

ENTREE / SALAD

Cool Salmon Salad

1 cup dry white wine

4 sprigs fresh dill plus 1 tablespoon chopped

4 (4- to 6-ounce) salmon fillets, preferably skinless

-1/4 cup bottle Makoto brand dill dressing

8 cups baby spinach or other greens

- In a deep skillet large enough to hold the salmon in one layer, bring the wine, 1 cup water and 4 dill sprigs to a gentle simmer. Add the salmon, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Remove salmon from pan and allow to cool.

- Divide the greens equally on four dinner plates. Place a piece of the cooled salmon on top and drizzle dressing over the salmon. Sprinkle with chopped dill.

Makes: 4 servings

Per serving: 262 calories (49 percent from fat), 25g protein, 4g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 12g fat (2g saturated), 62mg cholesterol, 294mg sodium.

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