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Salmon Caesar Salad

As a teenager, I went through a phase during which I absolutely adored chicken caesar salad. My mom can attest to this fact, as more often than not I would order this meal when we went out for our special mother/daughter lunches. Chicken caesar salad can differ slightly from restaurant to restaurant, but one aspect remains nearly constant: the lettuce is usually saturated with a rich, creamy, and let’s face it, highly fattening & caloric dressing. When my interest in eating healthfully started to kick into high gear, I developed a preference for ordering salads with lighter vinaigrettes – usually on the side – when dining out.

Although I still prefer vinaigrettes to creamy dressings, every once in a while I have a hankering for caesar salad. Instead of ordering my old favorite at a restaurant, I’ve concocted a lighter homemade version. I replaced the typical hefty amount of olive oil with a bit of 2% Greek yogurt, significantly cut down on the Parmesan cheese, and completely eliminated the eggs. What I kept was pure flavor: anchovy paste, garlic, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and a touch of Worcestershire sauce. The resulting blended dressing is creamy and flavorful – a tasty, healthy update on a classic.

Instead of stopping the modifications at a lighter dressing, I decided to pair the salad with a different protein. Salmon immediately came to mind, as it’s flavor is robust enough to stand up to the caesar dressing.

I bet I would still enjoy a decadent restaurant-prepared chicken caesar salad, but I’m glad to have my own modified version that I can make whenever the craving strikes.

Salmon Caesar Salad

serves 2

Ingredients for the salmon:

  • 2 (4-6 oz) fillets wild Alaskan salmon
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients for the salad:

  • 2 small cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste
  • 2 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt (fat-free or 2%)
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon OR stoneground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 cups chopped or torn romaine lettuce
  • a few shavings of fresh parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Pat the salmon dry, (any moisture on the fish will keep it from searing properly), and season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Heat a bit of extra virgin olive oil in an oven-proof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the salmon flesh (non-skin) side down to the hot skillet and cook, undisturbed, for 2 minutes, or until crisp.
  4. Flip salmon over so the skin side is down and transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast the salmon for 4 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Peel off the skin.
  5. While salmon cooks, blend together all salad ingredients – except for lettuce and parmesan – in a blender until creamy. Toss lettuce with Caesar dressing. Serve salad topped with cooked salmon and freshly shaved parmesan cheese.

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