January 11th, 2012

{recipe} Cucumber Salad with Poached Salmon

Salmon Cucumber Salad

I promise. All the talk of new beginnings and resolutions is over. I let it all out in my last post. Truly! Despite appearances, this recipe doesn’t come with proclamations of health for a new year or cheerleading for lighter cooking. It’s true that I hope you’ll do more home cooking with healthy, whole ingredients this year—but I hope that all the time, every day of every year.

This recipe is light, even lighter than usual, for the simple reason that I overdid it during the holidays. And whenever I over do it, whether on vacation or through my birthday week, I rebound with healthy, cleansing foods.

So there—this is not about the new year. Oh, and did I mention that I served this salad with my favorite camembert slathered over pumpernickel raisin bread.

SO THERE.

Booya.

Wait! Maybe I do have a new year’s resolution: no more saying booya. Ever.

Okay, back to the recipe. It’s a simple one adapted from Martha Stewart. The only major change is that I added shaved fennel. I had some on hand and it worked beautifully. If you like fennel, I suggest that you do the same. Oh, and this takes about 20 minutes to make. That’s it.

Served with hearty toast and cheese, this makes a great light dinner. Otherwise, serve it alongside a modest vegetarian main or a hearty soup. If you like wilted cucumber salad, you’ll also love this dish the next day. I give major points for the rare salad that makes good leftovers. The Hungry Boy happily ate this for dinner two nights in a row. Happy mama, happy kids and even happy papa (he had two pieces of toast with camembert!). No complaining here.

Cucumber Salad with Poached Salmon
adapted from Martha Stewart
can be shared with kids 8+ mos
serves 4 as a main

2 lemons
6 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
4 salmon fillets, about 6 ounces each (skinless or skin on)
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons honey (substitute 1 teaspoon plus more to taste granulated sugar if feeding a child under 12-months-old)
Freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 long English cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1 large bulb fennel, washed, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 tablespoon small capers, rinsed and drained

1. Poach the salmon: wash one of the lemons and cut into 1/4″ slices with the rind still on. In a large, deep skillet or pot, combine water and salt and bring to a simmer. Gently place salmon in the pot—the simmering liquid should just about cover the fish. Reduce heat to keep the liquid at a very gentle simmer. Cover and cook until salmon is opaque, about 5 minutes (the exact cooking time will depend on how thick your fillets are). When done, use a spatula to carefully remove salmon from liquid. Allow to cool and then use your fingers to flake into large pieces. Set aside.

2. Whisk together vinegar, oil and honey. Season with salt and pepper. Add salmon, cucumber, onion, fennel and capers to a large bowl. Coat with dressing and toss to combine. Serve!

*Note: Though there is nothing in this salad that is unsafe for younger eaters, I recommend it starting at 8+ mos due to the tangy (i.e., acidic) dressing. Plus, pureed cucumbers are not the most appealing eats. (You can puree just the salmon, with or without dressing, if you like.) No matter how old your eaters, be sure to cut cukes into age appropriate bites. You might also want to pick out the onions for little ones—but not for yourself. And don’t skip the capers for anyone! They are a great flavor experience, even for the little ones.

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