I taught this dish at a webinar on muscle and protein; it’s a great example of the way in which Mediterranean recipes often combine animal protein (a scarce and precious commodity “back in the day”) with beans (a cheaper and more easily available source of plant protein).
You can rustle this dish up in a matter of minutes, so add it to your weeknight rotation.
Quick Salmon & Bean Salad
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup dry white wine optional; if you don't consume alcohol, replace with water
- 3 sprigs dill
- 3 sprigs parsley
- 1 medium shallot thinly sliced
- 4 slices lemon
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1¼ pound fresh salmon cut into 3-4 fillets
Tomato & Bean Salad
- ½ large red onion thinly sliced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 10 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- a pinch of red pepper flakes
- 20 oz grape or cherry tomatoes washed
- 3 cups white beans drained & rinsed. My favorites are cannellini beans; canned beans are fine, but IMHO, beans that have been soaked & cooked from scratch are even tastier and have a more satisfying texture
- 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup fresh basil coarsely chopped or torn
- Combine water, wine (if using), dill, parsley, lemon slices, shallot, salt, and pepper in a large skillet and bring to a boil on medium heat. Place salmon fillets skin-side down in the skillet so they are mostly submerged.
- Bring back to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and poach the fish for 5-6 minutes. To check for doneness, poke the thickest part of the fish with the tip of a paring knife; it should flake easily. When it's ready, lift it out with a fish slice and transfer it to a plate. Set aside to cool, then refrigerate until needed.
Salad prep & assembly
- Fill a small bowl with ice water and place the onion slices in it; squeeze and scrunch them in the water with your fingertips. Set aside for 10 minutes; this takes the edge off the sharp raw-onion flavor. After 10 minutes, drain them through a sieve and pat them dry with paper towel (or, for the more economically minded, with a cotton kitchen towel).
- To make the tomato dressing, heat three tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly, until the garlic starts to soften.
- Increase the heat to medium-high and add the tomatoes. Cook, tossing frequently, until the tomato skins burst and release some of their juices, about 5 minutes. You can gently press on some of the tomatoes with a wooden spoon to help them along; sometimes I even mash them into a jam-like "compote." If the mixture is very thick, add 1-2 tbsp water. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
- To assemble the salad, tip the drained & rinsed beans, the dried onion slices, the flaked salmon, and the warm tomato compote into a large salad bowl. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and the white balsamic vinegar, add the torn/chopped basil, and toss gently to combine. Serve immediately.
- This keeps in the fridge for 3-4 days; tastes great chilled, at room temperature or lukewarm. I often serve it over a bed of arugula.