I included the Smoked Salmon Salad in the class mostly because it was a bit different for me (I hate to be too predictable) and because Smoked Salmon is a popular item for brunch menus. I love smoked salmon in rillettes, but other than in that particular form, smoked salmon is not something I think about very often. I don't dislike it...there are just other things I like better. As a chef, I think it's important to occasionally incorporate foods into my menus and my classes that might not be my favorite—they are after all sure to be a favorite with someone.
Occasionally when I prepare something that falls into the "not my favorite thing" category, I will have the delightful experience of discovering just how wonderful that particular food can be (and why so many people love it). So it was with the salad I made for this class. There was something about the crisp sweetness of the fennel and mild heat of the radishes—simply dressed with lemon and olive oil—in combination with the slightly salty, slightly smoky salmon that tickled my taste buds in just the right way. When I made a small salad for lunch one day so I could write down the exact quantities of ingredients for my recipe handout, I couldn't believe how good it was. So good that when I finished it, I got up and made myself a second salad.
8 oz. thinly sliced smoked salmon (see note)
2 T. capers, rinsed
4 to 6 radishes, scrubbed and trimmed and sliced very thin—about 1/2 cup
Salt & freshly ground pepper
2 T. Extra-virgin olive oil
Arrange the smoked salmon slices on a large platter or on 6 to 8 individual plates. Scatter the capers over the salmon.
Place the fennel, radishes and parsley in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice and toss to combine. Taste and correct the seasoning. Pile the fennel salad on top of the salmon. Drizzle the olive oil over all. Serves 6 to 8.
Note: Use any style of cured, cold-smoked salmon that you prefer.
(Inspiration for recipe is from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food, May 2010)