Building Feasts' Salmon Caesar-ish
This gorgeous salad recipe comes from Hanna Geller of Building Feasts! In the words of Hanna, "It’s officially summer and in my world, sunshine calls for salad. This hot smoked salmon nod to a classic Caesar is ideal for the season and substantial enough as a stand alone main course on a hot day when the notion of turning on any heat to cook is just too much."
For the salad
4 small gem hearts, romaine will also work
2 fillets hot smoked salmon, (approx. 300 g)
1 portion garlic croutons, store bought will also work
6-8 radishes, thinly sliced
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced OR pickled red onions (recipe below)
For the pickled red onions
60ml lemon juice
60ml red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 medium-large red onion, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
A few sprigs of thyme
1 tsp pink peppercorns, optional
For the Tahini Caesar dressing
3 anchovy fillets
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp Seed + Mill Organic Tahini
½ lemon, juiced
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp dijon
1 tbsp ice water
100ml olive oil
2 tbsp whole milk yogurt
1 tsp maple syrup
Salt & pepper, to taste
For the pickled red onions
- Combine the the liquids with the salt and sugar and stir in a clean jar with a tight fitting lid.
- Add the sliced red onion, bay leaves, thyme and pink peppercorns (if using). Shake everything together.The onions should be almost submerged in the liquid. They will settle down into the brine so don’t worry if the are not completely covered at the start. After a few minutes they will have wilted into the liquor (you can always encouraged them with a little stir).
- Allow to marinade together for at least 30 minutes before serving.
This will keep in the fridge in a clean, sealed jar for unto a month and is delicious on just about everything.
For the Dressing
You can either make this by hand, in a mini chopper or in the small bowl of a food processor.
If you are making this by hand: finely chop the anchovies and the garlic together (I sometimes grate the raw garlic to avoid any larger chunks in the dressing).
Place them in a bowl and add the tahini paste, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard and mix together, slowly trickling in the ice water. The mixture will be thick and almost seize and then it will relax. Keep stirring.
Then slowly add the olive oil. When it is all incorporated, mix in the yoghurt and the maple syrup and season well with salt and pepper.
- At this point, taste and see if the dressing needs any more salt, acid or a touch more sweet. If it is too thick to pour easily, add a splash more ice water. It should be thick cream consistency.
- If you are making this in a food processor: or mini chopper, start by mincing the anchovies and garlic. Add the tahini paste, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard and mix together, then add the ice water. Slowly add the olive oil, followed by the yoghurt, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning. Pour into a jar and if it’s a little on the thicker side, add another drop of ice water or two.
Keep in a jar in the fridge until you are ready to use it; it will last 5 days.
I like serving this on a large flat plate (a tray would also work) or a large shallow bowl.
If you are not pickling your onions, thinly slice half a medium red onion. I like to do this on a mandolin. Then place in a mesh sieve and rinse well under cold water to get rid of the raw onion taste. Dry well with paper towels.
Little gem lettuce trick for you: To keep them crunchy, I wash them a couple of hours before I want to use them, dry them thoroughly and then place them in a bowl in the fridge under a damp piece of kitchen towel. This makes for maximum crisp. I like to build this in layers, to allow the ingredients and dressing to distribute with minimal tossing and salmon crushing in the process.
Arrange about 2/3 of the lettuce leaves at the bottom of the plate.
Break up the salmon fillets into pieces (there are no rules here, just let them flake into irregular bite size pieces) and scatter about 1.5 of the fillet pieces on top of the leaves.
Scatter 2/3 of the croutons and the sliced radishes and a forkful or two of pickled onions.
Then pour a light drizzle of dressing over everything.
Place the remaining ingredients onto the plate, finishing with croutons and onions for colour and dress with more of the dressing. I err on the side of caution are and prefer not to overdress this salad but serve it with some extra dressing on the side for those who want more rather than less.