Lynda Balslev: Smoking-hot salmon | TheUnion.com
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Lynda Balslev: Smoking-hot salmon

 

As we head into the holiday season, it’s handy to have a few healthy appetizers and snacks up our sleeves for guilt-free meals and nibbling before and between festivities. Hot-smoked salmon salad should be on your list. It’s a healthy, elegant and seriously tasty salad — served chilled, despite the name — which is delightfully versatile and can be easily made in advance of serving.

The key to the recipe is to use hot-smoked salmon, not cold-smoked salmon. What’s the difference? While both methods rely on using super-fresh salmon, the main difference is the smoking temperature. Cold-smoked salmon is smoked at a lower temperature, approximately 80 degrees, which imparts a mild smoky flavor without cooking the fish. The result is a fresh, moist texture, which is similar to sashimi.

Hot-smoked salmon is smoked hotter, at 120 degrees or higher, which yields a drier, flakier fish with a strong smoky flavor. It’s this flaky texture and smoky flavor which are ideal (and addictively tasty) in this recipe.



Once the salad is prepared, it can be refrigerated for two days. When ready to use, spread it on bread for an open-face sandwich or tartine as a healthy lunch; wrap it in lettuce leaves for a gluten-free appetizer; or dress it up in a bowl and serve with tortilla chips or crostini for easy entertaining.

Hot-Smoked Salmon Salad

Active time: 10 minutes



Total time: 10 minutes

Yield: Makes about 2 cups salad

12 ounces hot-smoked salmon, pin-bones and skin removed, flaked

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley leaves

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

2 tablespoons chopped chives

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon whole milk plain Greek yogurt or sour cream

2 teaspoons capers, drained, chopped

1/4 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix with a fork to thoroughly combine. If too dry, add additional yogurt or lemon juice. The salad should be moist but not too wet. Taste for seasoning. Refrigerate in a sealed container for up to two days.

Hot-Smoked Salmon Tartines

Active time: 10 minutes

Total time: 10 minutes

Yield: Makes 2

2 slices country-style or levain bread, about 1/2-inch thick

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 large handful sturdy greens, such as spinach, arugula, baby kale or frisee

1/2 lemon

Sea salt

1 cup hot-smoked salmon salad

Chopped chives or dill for garnish

To make a tartine, lightly brush the bread with olive oil. Toast in the oven until lightly golden on both sides. Remove and cool slightly.

Place the greens in a bowl. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt. (The leaves should be lightly coated, not drenched.) Spread the greens on the bread. Spoon a layer of salmon salad over the greens. Garnish with additional dill or chives and a squeeze of lemon. Serve immediately.

Lynda Balslev is a cookbook author, food and travel writer, and recipe developer based in the San Francisco Bay area

Hot-smoked salmon salad is a healthy, elegant and seriously tasty salad — served chilled, despite the name — which is delightfully versatile and can be easily made in advance of serving.
Photo by Lynda Balslev

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