Poached Salmon Salad
- SERVINGS: 8
If you find spring onions, fresh fava beans, sugar snap peas or young string beans, by all means use them in this salad. If pink beets are unavailable, use red beets but dress them separately so that they won't discolor the other vegetables.
- 1 3/4 pounds skinless center-cut salmon fillet
- 1 1/2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 cup finely diced cooked pink Chioggia beets
- 2/3 cup finely diced young carrots
- 1/2 cup finely diced celery hearts
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 2 tablespoons drained capers
- Freshly ground pepper
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced chives
- 2 tablespoons fresh chervil leaves
- Using small pliers or tweezers, remove any bones from the salmon. Cut the fillet in half lengthwise, then slice each piece crosswise and on an angle about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer the salmon to a platter.
- In a deep 10-inch skillet, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the salt and the bay leaves. Reduce the heat so that the water barely simmers. Working quickly, poach 8 to 10 slices of the salmon at a time for no more than 30 seconds; using a slotted spatula, transfer the salmon to paper towels to drain. Arrange the slices on a platter in a single layer and let cool while you poach the rest.
- In a medium bowl, combine the beets, carrots, celery, shallot and capers. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons salt, some pepper, the lemon juice and the olive oil. Mix well.
- Casually arrange the salmon slices on 8 plates. Scatter the diced vegetables all over the salmon and the plates. Drizzle any remaining dressing over the salads. Garnish with the chives and chervil and serve.
Spring is not the time for weighty, ceremonious wines but rather for wines that mirror the freshness and liveliness of the season's foods. Chef Paul Bertolli found a perfect match for the salmon salad in a Monte Volpe Pinot Bianco from Mendocino County. Its fine balance of bright fruit and acid with undertones of mineral and citrus provides the right foil for the salmon and its garnishes. In seeking other alternatives, avoid "big" whites or those with prominent woody aromas. Try Rosé Champagne, Italian Prosecco or another dry, lean sparkling wine.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.