I’ve been obsessed.
Not with expensive shoes or daytime soap operas or Facebook – so I guess it could be worse.
The object of my obsession is Salmon Caesar Salad.
It started about a month ago, when I was working on a story for Bon Appétit, for holiday roasts. One of the recipes was for Rosemary-Rubbed Side of Salmon, which meant, in varying-sized hunks, I cooked my way through about seven pounds of the stuff. And not just garden-variety salmon – beautiful, succulent, sweet, creamy salmon from the best fish market in town. $116 worth, thank you very much Bon Appétit.
And THAT meant that I ended up with a lot of salmon in the freezer. A lot. Just about as I was portioning and freezing the seventh or eighth piece of it, maybe because the weather finally turned warm, I started thinking about Salmon Caesar Salad.
So I made it for dinner about ten days ago. Nicely coincidentally, I also had leftover homemade focaccia in the freezer, so I turned that into salty, crispy croutons. I whipped up a batch of lemony Caesar dressing, from a recipe in my book. And I tossed them both together with some fresh farmer’s market romaine. I plated it with a few shavings of Parmesan, and then a big hunk of (thawed) leftover salmon broken up over the top.
Ohgh. (That’s a cross between a moan and a sigh.)
But that initial salad only served to whet my appetite. I’ve made it a couple of times since, and each of them was just as good, but the obsession continues.
I’m down to the last hunk in the freezer. I’m afraid to use it because at least now I have the possibility of a Salmon Caesar Salad, if not an actual one.
It could be worse.
Salmon Caesar Salad
What is it about a great salad with a toothsome hunk of protein on top? Satisfyingly crisp and refreshing, yet hearty, I could have one for lunch or dinner every day, especially during the warm weather months. But then again, I’m obsessed.
1 ounce Parmesan Cheese
1 head romaine lettuce, trimmed and cut or torn into bite-sized pieces (you should have 7 or 8 cups)
1 carrot, shredded
2/3 cup croutons, homemade or store-bought
6 tablespoons Caesar salad dressing, homemade (recipe below) or store-bought, or more to taste
2 cooked 4- to 6-ounce salmon filets
Freshly ground black pepper, for serving
Use a vegetable peeler to cut the cheese into thick shaves (you should have about 1/3 cup). Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, carrot, croutons, and dressing. Arrange the salad on plates and top with the cheese. Break up the salmon and arrange it on top. Serve immediately, passing the pepper grinder at the table.
Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing
This dressing is particularly lemony, which helps a salad made with it pair with a bright wine like Pinot Grigio.
Makes 3/4 cup
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
In a blender, combine the cheese, lemon juice, garlic, anchovy paste, mustard, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper and blend until smooth, scraping down the jar as necessary. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil. Add more salt and pepper to taste. (You can store the dressing, covered in the refrigerator, for up to about a week. Return to room temperature and, if necessary, restir before using.)