Last week, on my day off, I had a craving for one of the dishes that we had been serving on the Valentine’s Day menu at The Hazelnut Kitchen. The dish was a perfectly pan-seared piece of halibut over roasted beets dressed with a bit of lemon, dill and grapefruit juice and was topped with grapefruit supremes and a chiffonade of fresh basil, finished with an orange vinaigrette. It was divine, simple, fresh, delicious.
I found two beautiful filets of skin-on wild caught salmon at the store and quickly snatched those up to stand in for the halibut. I love salmon, especially raw. The beets I roasted in the same fashion as we do at the restaurant and I have become completely addicted to roasting beets this way, they are so juicy and sweet and soft. I also added some greens to make this dish a little bit heartier. It made for a perfect lunch but would be an equally nice, light dinner.
Crispy Skin Salmon Salad
For the Salmon:
- 2 skin-on wild caught salmon filets, about 5-6 ounces
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 lemon
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1-2 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
For the Beets:
- 3 medium sized beets, tops and bottoms removed
- 1/4 cup vegetable stock (or water)
- 1 teaspoon each whole black peppercorn and fennel seed
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 fat strips of lemon peel
- splash of red wine vinegar
For the Blood Orange Vinaigrette:
- juice and zest of one blood orange
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 5-6 fresh mint leaves
- 2 fresh chives
- 1/2 shallot, minced
- 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil, depending on how juicy your orange is
- salt and pepper
For the Salad:
- 1 1/2 cups mixed greens (I used a blend of spinach, chard and kale for my salad)
- 3 radishes, sliced thinly on a mandoline
- 2-3 fresh chives
Preheat the oven to 375 F. In a roasting vessel that is deep, such as a loaf pan, place the beets, stock, peppercorns, fennel seeds, bay, thyme, lemon and vinegar. Cover with aluminum foil and roast in the oven 40-45 minutes until the beets are fork tender. Allow them to cool slightly and peel off the skin, it should slip right off. Cut each beet in half and slice thinly.
Pat your salmon filets dry gently with a paper towel. Season both sides liberally with salt and pepper. Place uncovered in the fridge for 15-20 minutes while you make the dressing. This will help the salmon to dry out ever so slightly which makes for getting a nice crisp on the skin.
In the workbowl of a food processor, add the blood orange juice and zest, mustard, shallot and herbs. Pulse to combine. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in all of the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a jar and place into the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
In a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, place a few tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, place the salmon filets skin side down and sear, 5-6 minutes. Don’t touch them! Just let them work their magic. The skin will have a supremely satisfying potato chip-like crunch to it. Add the butter and thyme to the pan. Squeeze the half of the lemon into the pan and then throw the lemon right in. When the filets can be moved easily from the bottom of the pan, flip them and place them into the oven for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand in the pan until you’re ready for them.
To assemble the salad, toss the greens and radishes, reserving two or three for garnish, into a bowl. Give the blood orange vinaigrette a shake if it started to separate at all and lightly dress the greens with it. Arrange the greens and radishes on a plate. Next add the beets to the bowl along with a pinch of salt and lightly dress with the vinaigrette. Arrange the beets atop the greens. Finally, place the salmon on top of the salad. Garnish with your reserved radishes and a chive or two. Drizzle more dressing over top of the fish and all around your plate. Voila!