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What to Make: Bang-Bang Wasabi Salmon Salad

Bang-bang wasabi salmon salad

Wasabi is the perfect match for buttery smooth salmon, and the combination of pink and green looks wonderful on the plate. I don’t think the artist in me will ever get bored of the colours in this salad. A perfect summer dish, it makes for a delicious light main course too. This is a great stress-free option for a dinner party; the salmon can be cooked in advance and the courgettes and lettuce can be prepared and kept in the fridge until needed.

Serves 4

Ingredients
2 salmon fillets, preferably skin off

For the salad
2 courgettes
1 gem lettuce, shredded
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
pinch of sea salt
1 birds eye chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 heaped tbsp finely chopped mint, plus extra to serve (optional)

For the dressing
1 avocado, stoned and peeled
1 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
2 tsp wasabi paste, or to taste
pinch of sea salt
8 tbsp cold water
a handful of toasted seeds

Method
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. 

First, cook the salmon. Lightly oil a baking tray and cook the fillets, skin-side down if they have skin, for 10-12 minutes. Once cooked, remove the salmon and allow to cool completely. If the salmon has skin, remove it now, if you like. I like to lightly brush both sides of the removed skin with some oil and sprinkle a little salt on it before placing it back under the grill and munching on it like a crisp. You can also serve it as a fancy crisp on top of the salad.

While the salmon cools, prepare the salad. Begin by grating the courgettes and, in handfuls, squeeze out as much of their liquid as you can over the sink – they have a high water content, so this prevents a soggy salad. Place the squeezed courgette into a medium bowl and add the sesame oil, cider vinegar, salt, chopped chilli and mint. Toss everything together, set aside or place in the fridge for the flavours to infuse while you get on with the dressing.

Place the avocado, tahini, cider vinegar, wasabi paste, sea salt and half the water into a food processor and blend until smooth. Add the remaining water (and more if needed) until you reach the desired consistency. It’s completely up to your preference – I like my dressing the consistency of thick Greek yoghurt so it’s easy to scoop up with the salmon.

Once everything is prepared and the salmon has cooled, flake the fish. You’ll notice that it naturally has a few lines running through it, which I think resemble waves. Using a knife and fork, gently go along these lines and separate the “waves” of salmon. Take your time and don’t panic if it doesn’t look overly neat. You’ll probably find that there are a few scrappy bits – you can place these on the salad first and easily disguise them with the neat flakes.

To build your salad, start by placing a good handful of the shredded lettuce onto the plates followed by about two handfuls of the courgette and finally place the salmon – scrappy bits first! – on top. Then drizzle or spoon over your dressing and finally top with shredded mint and seeds, if you are using them.

Extracted from Land & Sea: Secrets to Simple, Sustainable, Sensational Food by Alexandra Dudley (Orion, approx €28.50). Photography by Andrew Burton.

Alexandra Dudley

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