The first time I made this dish, I was knee-deep in summer, and rolling around in the joys of herbs and baby lettuces. But then months later, I was having some work friends over for an end-of-year meal, and wanting to make something that felt pretty and festive and (this doesn’t sound particularly feminist) kind of ladylike. Suddenly this warm weather dish seemed like a perfect holiday lunch.
Sometimes I like salmon to be browned and crispy, but in this case I was going for more of a delicate poached texture, so the whole dish would be soft and gentle. The salmon is bathed in an olive oil, scallion and herb mixture and cooked at a fairly low temperature to allow it to cook through without the salmon or the herb coating browning. The cooking range is pretty broad, because it really depends on how thick your salmon is. At this temperature, think about 12 -14 minutes per inch thickness of salmon.
For the salad part, you can use any baby lettuce mix you like, or create your own. There are a number of packages mixed on the market that have fresh herbs mixed right in, which is very nice. Mix whatever lettuces you like with some more fresh herbs, toss with some fresh lemon juice and good olive oil, season up with salt and pepper, and pop that gorgeous salmon right on top.
You could cook the salmon ahead of time and let it cool to room temperature. Then dress and assemble the salads just before cooking, which makes this a great recipe for a relaxed lunch.
Herbed Salmon over a Soft Green Herby Salad
For the Salmon
- 4 6-ounce salmon fillets
- 5 scallions white and light green parts only, cut into 1-inch pieces
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons fresh dill sprigs
- ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves
- ½ teaspoon coarse or kosher salt plus more to taste
For the Salad
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt to taste
- 6 cups baby salad mix or a mix of purslane, butter lettuce, boston lettuce, and mache, for example
- ½ cup whole fresh parsley leaves
- ¼ cup sliced chives
- Preheat the oven to 300°F. Spray a baking pan with nonstick spray, or light oil the pan. Place the salmon filets in the baking pan.
- In a small food processor blend together the scallions, 1/4 cup olive oil, dill, 1/4 cup parsley leaves, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Spread the mixture over the salmon, and bake for about 18 to 25 minutes (depending on thickness), just until the salmon is barely cooked through and flakes easily. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan, until just warm.
- For the salad, in a large bowl, mix together the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, plus salt to taste. Add the lettuces, 1/2 cup parsley leaves and chives and toss. Divide the salad between 4 plates and place a piece of salmon atop each pile of greens, removing the skin if you wish. Serve while the salmon is warm, or at room temperature if you prefer.
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