When I was going to school in Fort Worth, one of my favorite spots to grab a beer and food with friends was The Bearded Lady. It’s known for its charming historic-home-turned-pub atmosphere and its extensive beer list. The last thing I usually think to pair with a good, robust beer is a salad, but one time when I was sitting with a friend on the small, picnic-adorned patio, the Smoked Salmon Salad caught my eye. And then my life changed forever.
Let me first be clear that I am not one of those people. You know exactly who I’m talking about: the type who refuse to participate in the luxury and indulgence of dining out, who order a wimpy salad in lieu of the burger and fries or a slice of pizza. I believe, thinking back, I was simply stumped; I was hungry enough for a big meal, but I’m pescatarian (I don’t eat meat, only seafood and dairy) and this menu is pretty limited in terms of options for what I could order that wouldn’t leave me still starving after.
The simplicity of this salad allows each flavor and texture to equally stand out and complement one another, and with the pecans and salmon, it’s hearty enough to fill you up. It was soon my go-to whenever I’d frequent the restaurant, and because its ingredients are limited, I knew I wanted to try recreating it at home.
Although I have no idea how to smoke a salmon, I’ve noticed searing it does just as well. I’ve also had to improvise some on the vinaigrette; the menu says it’s just a lemon vinaigrette, so I looked up the easiest recipe I could find for one of those, added some cilantro for extra freshness and black peppercorns for bite, and threw it all together. The end product is an easy remix of my favorite restaurant salad that takes almost no time at all to assemble, and I promise it won’t leave you hungry.
Salad Ingredients (makes 2 servings):
8-oz. salmon fillet
4 c. spring greens
1 medium jicama, peeled and cut into spears
1 avocado, sliced
1 c. honey glazed pecans
Salt and black pepper, to season the salmon
Spray coconut oil onto a warm frying pan over medium heat. Season the meat side of the salmon fillet with a small sprinkle of salt, coat with pepper.
Place it, seasoned side down (skin facing up), on the pan and let it cook for 4-5 minutes. Flip; cook skin side down for another 4-5 minutes.
Remove from heat, and the skin should easily peel off with a spatula or tongs.
Assemble the greens, jicama, avocado, pecans, and salmon onto two plates.
Lemon-Cilantro Dressing Ingredients (makes WAY more than you’ll need; store in an airtight jar or container to use again for other salads or freeze):
Juice from 1 lemon
1/4 c. cilantro leaves
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. white wine vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. honey
Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until finely mixed together; drizzle 1-2 tablespoons onto your salad.
(If you don’t have a food processor, I’d opt for a minimal-ingredient lemon dressing from your local supermarket.)