The final week of school, the conclusion of my teaching career, the end of the most unpredictable school year if there ever was a predictable one, comes to a close this Friday. Summer awaits our full attention as stepping into the upcoming new season feels more of a gift for surviving rather than a regular annually anticipated three months. I exaggerate, but only a little, and so I look to meals full of flavor, simple to pull together, healthy in their composition, and rich in their combination of depths of flavor to celebrate the arrival of the Summer Solistice and the many warm days outside at a slower pace.
Enter Nigel Slater’s recipes.
Nigel Slater inspires my time in the kitchen often, as his casual, prose-style recipes permit putting down the stress of perfection and exhaustive efforts to be replaced by creative food combinations found with the season’s offerings.
Last Friday in The Guardian, he shared two recipes as he does frequently, and it was his grilled salmon which immediate captured my tastebuds’ attention. As I don’t grill often and didn’t have mint on hand as listed in his recipe, I adapted the recipe somewhat, but the end result was one I wanted to share.
My parents arrived at Le Papillon (my home) this weekend, and this was our first meal together in about 5 1/2 months. Grateful for the time to visit, I wanted something delicious, but I also knew I had a weekend that was short on time as I geared up for one more week of school. The Salmon Salad hit the spot.
KEY THINGS TO REMEMBER:
In fewer than 15 minutes, this salad, this meal, is ready to be enjoyed. Pair with a crisp glass of a favorite rosé or white wine, and step into summer ready to relax, recharge and savor your everydays.
~Speaking of Nigel Slater, if you are a fan, as I am, I am excited to share that he just announced he has a new cookbook being released this fall (Oct. 14th, 480 pages) – The Cook’s Book. I cannot wait to read it as it looks to be a tome of Slater’s expertise and life experience around food. Cooking my way through will be a treat if his previous titles are any indication, of that I am confident.
Basil-dressed Salmon w/Avocado & Cucumber Salad
- 1 1/2 lbs fresh salmon
- 1 English cucumber
- 2 medium avocados
- 10-12 leaves fresh basil
- 2/3 cup olive oil (100 ml)
- 2-3 Tbsp lime juice (fresh)
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves
- 1 pinch fleur de sol
- 1-3 grind freshly ground black peppers
- Using a medium skillet, bring to medium heat. Drizzle with 1-2 tbsp olive oil. Place the seasoned (salt and pepper) salmon skin-side down and cook for about 4-5 minutes. While cooking, rub each serving of salmon with olive oil. Then flip to cook the other side, cooking until you can easily tease a flake of the meat away. Make sure not to overcook. Remove from the stovetop and let sit until you are ready to combine with the remaining ingredients and dressing.
- Peel the cucumber. Slice in half length-wise. Using a spoon, remove the seeds so the finished meal doesn't not hold too much water and dilute the dressing. Slice each half again – horizontally from top to bottom. Then cut into 3 inch (length), pencil-width, matchsticks. Place in a medium mixing bowl.
- Slice the avocados in half, remove the pit and remove the skin (with a spoon is easiest for me). Slice into rough 1-2 inch bit-size pieces. Toss into the mixing bowl with the cucumbers.
- Add the 10-12 basil leaves to the cucumber and avocado mixture. Don't mix just yet.
Make the Dressing
- Using a blender, add all of the ingredients – olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper and basil leaves. Additionally, add 1-2 teaspoons of water. Blend until a beautiful green with specks. About 30 seconds to a minute.
- Pour the dressing over the cucumber and avocado mixture. Gently toss to combine.
- Break into rough, bite-size pieces, the salmon. Place the salmon in the salad bowl you will be using if you are presenting as one dish. If you are serving in the kitchen onto individual places, place the tossed green salad (sans salmon) on each place. Place the salmon onto each place (on top of the avocado and cucumber mix).
- Serve warm (have the cucumber and avocado salad dressed and ready for the just-cooked-salmon). Pair with a chilled glass of rosé or favorite white wine. Enjoy!
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