This poached salmon salad is a tasty, light and quick meal. It comes together easily, can be adapted to taste and is perfect when you want something healthier or that avoids using the oven.
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For a while, salmon was the only fish that I could consistently get my elder son to eat as he seemed to go off pretty much all others. Thankfully, things have turned around a bit - I can at least convince him to eat others if I top them with salsa verde or chermoula sauce.
We can often be a bit boring in defaulting to teriyaki salmon, but now and then I try to mix things up. A filling but light salad is a great option during warmer months and this one incorporates salmon in a different way. Plus, it avoids turning on the oven.
A colorful, adaptable meal
This salad adds lots of color and different textures alongside the salmon, but it's also something you can easily adapt to what you have or other ingredients you may prefer.
Personally I really like using French lentils as the base as they hold their form and are that bit heartier and filling than greens. But you could absolutely use your favorite salad base instead, here.
Beyond that, I've gone relatively typical salad ingredients along with asparagus, that pairs really well with salmon. I managed to find this cute (and tasty) baby asparagus but regular would also work.
The end result is a lovely mix of colors and textures, but you could easily switch any of the ingredients based on what you have or prefer. Bell peppers, snow peas and thinly sliced radishes might be good options to try.
How to poach salmon
I'm not really sure why poaching isn't more popular, as it's both a quick and easy method of cooking fish. The one downside is you don't really add extra flavor as you do through pan frying and roasting, but sometimes you don't need that. Here, for example, you can easily add other flavors through the salad dressing after, anyway.
To poach salmon, all you need is a pot of simmering water which I suggest seasoning slightly with lemon. You can also use broth, but I don't think it's the best fit here.
Then add the pieces of fish and leave them a few minutes to cook through. Try to have the pieces of fish relatively uniform in thickness so they cook evenly.
It can be a little difficult to tell from looking or to touch whether the fish is cooked, but you can test if you start to flake a piece open. Since you will be breaking the pieces a little for this salad, it's not an issue if you break the chunks as you are testing.
If the fish doesn't flake or is still dark raw inside, give it a minute more. But try not to cook the fish longer than needed as it is best just cooked.
Dress up to taste
Here I kept things super simple with just olive oil and lemon juice, but you can easily dress this salad up with stronger flavors, if you prefer. You could use a balsamic, French or Greek vinaigrette, or why not add some salsa verde or chermoula sauce. Something like an orange or honey lime dressing might be good too.
This poached salmon salad is a lovely light meal that's really easy and quick to prepare, plus so easy to adapt to taste or what you have. It makes a great choice for a quick meal that's still healthy, but that you are happy to eat too. Perfect warm-weather eating.
Try these other meal-worthy salads:
- Grilled chicken and blueberry salad (the lemon feta dressing with it would also be good here!)
- Prosciutto salad with peach and mozzarella
- Seared tuna and veggie bowl (basically a salad!)
- Plus get more summer recipes in the archives.
Poached salmon salad
- ½ cup French lentils 95g (Puy lentils, or green as alternative)
- 1 ½ cups water 360ml
- ½ Persian cucumber (also called Lebanese cucumber, or approx ⅓ English)
- 4 oz cherry tomatoes 115g (or other tomatoes)
- ½ avocado
- 2 oz baby asparagus 55g (or regular)
- 12 oz salmon fillets 325g
- ½ tbsp lemon juice (approx)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place the lentils and water in a pot, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for around 20 minutes until the lentils are just tender and have absorbed most of the water. Drain off any leftover water and set aside to cool.
- As the lentils are cooking, prepare the rest of the salad. Slice the cucumber, halve the tomatoes (or quarter, if larger) and cut the avocado into small bite-sized pieces.
- Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a simmer and cook the asparagus for around 2 minutes to gently cook, then remove the asparagus and run under cold water or place in a bowl of cold water to preserve color and stop cooking. Don't discard the water.
- Trim the skin and any fatty or dark areas from the salmon. Cut to even thickness pieces, as far as possible.
- Squeeze the ½tbsp lemon into the water you used for the asparagus, bring back to a simmer, if not still hot, then add the salmon pieces. Keep the water just simmering and poach for around 6-8 minutes until the salmon is just cooked through and will flake. Remove the salmon and set aside.
- Drizzle roughly 1 tbsp of oil and ½tbsp lemon over the drained lentils, add a little salt and pepper and stir to mix. Divide the lentils between serving plates then top with chunks of salmon, cucumber, tomato, and avocado. Place some asparagus to one side of the place. Drizzle over the remaining olive oil, lemon and a little salt and black pepper then serve.
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