I’ve never cooked fish before moving here and what better place to start than the paradise known as the Pacific Northwest? I’ve always felt that salmon occupies such extremes. Done well, it is fantastic and over done, it is traumatic. Nervous to join the ranks of the monsters who overcook salmon, I just recently gathered courage enough to make some for dinner.
A few weekends ago I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference here in Seattle and one of the highlights of the entire weekend was the Bristol Bay Salmon table at the opening reception. I ate like 5 salmon cakes, each dunked in a pool of lemon dill aioli. Buoyed and inspired, I turned to Not Without Salt’s recipe for a simple salmon and chickpea salad as a way to test the waters. All the fish needed was seasoning with salt and pepper, a slathering of Dijon and about 20 minutes in the oven. I could do that! Reader, I did. And I jumped for joy when it came out just as it should, moist and flaky.
This salad was so simple and perfectly fresh and flavorful. I opted to toast the chickpeas to add some crunch. Oh, I also nixed the olives since they are gross. Capers gave me enough of a Mediterranean feel.
Salmon Salad with Cumin Toasted Chickpeas– adapted from Not Without Salt’s Salmon and Chickpea Salad
Place your pretty in pink salmon fillets on a tray lined with parchment. Sprinkle sea salt and black pepper on top of the salmon and spread a healthy dose of Dijon on top. Bake in the preheated (350°F) for 20 minutes or until it is done.
While it bakes, chop up 1 small red onion, a handful of capers and some cherry tomatoes. Whisk up 1/4 cup of olive oil, a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice and one minced shallot to form a quick vinaigrette. Add salt and pepper and pour over the onions, capers and tomatoes. Let sit to absorb flavors.
Heat up canola oil in a skillet. Drain 1 can of chickpeas and add to the skillet once the oil is hot. Season with salt, pepper and a few dashes of cumin. Stir every so often, letting them pop and get crispy. Should take about 7-9 minutes or so. Once they are done, lay them out on a paper towel to drain and let cool.
Once the salmon is done and cooled a bit, break it up into smaller pieces. Add some chopped fresh herbs like dill, basil or parsley along with mixed greens to the bowl with the marinating onions, capers and tomatoes. Add the cooled chickpeas and salmon. Maybe a bit of feta if you are feeling it. Toss it together and eat!
As Ashley suggested, I took the leftovers to work as a sandwich and I did not regret it.