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The Handoff: Grilled Salmon Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

2011 April 7

By Marc Duquette

Welcome back!  I can tell you that the maple vinaigrette turned out amazingly delicious!  The focus of this post is to explore the potential of vinaigrette a little further.  Remember, we are relaying off the vinegar used in Christopher’s quick pickles last week.  Today’s menu: Grilled Maple-Glazed Salmon topping a salad of spring greens and toasted whole wheat croutons dressed with homemade maple vinaigrette served with a side of quick pickled golden beets.

Making a vinaigrette is incredibly simple, quick, and the variations are endless.  Furthermore, the results are really delicious.  Here’s the basic recipe for a vinaigrette: 2 parts vinegar, 3 parts oil, a flavoring element (generally sweet), salt, pepper, herbs and spices, and usually minced garlic.  Simple as that!

In the recipe below, I flavored the vinaigrette with maple syrup from The Three Webbers Sugar House in Chesterfield, NH (no website).  Replace the maple syrup with 2 tablespoons of honey and 2 Tablespoons of a good grain mustard and you have a honey mustard vinaigrette.  Replace the apple cider vinegar with red wine vinegar, the juice of one lemon, increase the garlic a bit and add fresh basil (1 Tbs), oregano (1 tsp), and marjoram (1/2 tsp) and you’ve made a Greek dressing.  One of my favorites is a blueberry vinaigrette which uses Mom’s homemade blueberry syrup made with local pick-your-own berries from Parlee Farms in neighboring Tyngsborough, Massachusetts.  Make this recipe!  Experiment with the blend of herbs, the vinegars, the flavorings, and the oil-to-vinegar ratios.

CLICK HERE for the recipe and full post.

Maple Vinaigrette

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total time: 10 minutes

Yield: 12-ounce bottle

Note: I used the harder to find Grade B maple syrup which is darker, less viscous, and has a much stronger maple flavor than the commonly available Grade A.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup organic apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs (I used oregano and African blue basil. If using dried herbs use 1/2 the amount)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon or other whole grain mustard

Cooking Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients, shake well and let sit at room temperature for half an hour or so–this will soften the herbs and meld the flavors. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later use.

Spring Green Salad

Blend any combination of spring salad greens that you have available – in my case I used enough for two people.  We used radish greens, spring lettuce mix, baby bok choy, and baby arugula from the CSA, and from my garden we used Crystal Crisphead lettuce, and mustard greens.  We topped the salad with homegrown organic clover sprouts from Handy Pantry Sprouting.

Toasted Croutons

Total time: 10 minutes

Yield: Enough croutons to top 2 salads

Note: Norm makes his bread from scratch.

Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 slices homemade whole wheat or other rustic bread, sliced into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh herbs (we used rosemary)
  • 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped

Cooking Directions

  1. Over low to medium heat, infuse the oil with the garlic and herbs for several minutes.
  2. Strain garlic and herbs from oil, increase the heat slightly, and toss in the cubed bread.
  3. Toast until the croutons are crisp-golden, stirring and tossing often enough to obtain even toasting on all sides.

Maple Glazed Grilled Salmon

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 10 to 15 minutes

Total time: 40 to 55 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Note: This is a departure from a traditional maple glaze used on salmon which typically uses soy sauce and ginger.  Here, we simply use some of the maple vinaigrette and amend it with a few additional tablespoons of maple syrup.

Ingredients

  • 1 salmon filet (large enough to serve two)
  • 3/4 cup maple vinaigrette
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Cooking Directions

  1. Place fillet in a shallow dish, cover with the vinaigrette and let sit for 30 minutes. Remove fillet from vinaigrette and set aside.
  2. To the remaining vinaigrette, blend in the additional maple syrup and reserve for glazing the fish.
  3. On a hot grill (med-high) outfitted with a fish grate, grill salmon (skin side up unless your fillet is skinless) for two to three minutes. Flip the fish skin side down, glaze top of fillet, and lower grill heat to medium. Cook until fish is done — it will flake easily, about 10-15 minutes depending on the size and thickness of fillet.

To serve the grilled salmon, simply place it on the salad dressed with the maple vinaigrette and croutons.  To make a complete meal, we finished the dish with a side of quick pickled golden beets.  My brother Norm and I had a great time making this weeknight meal.  Of course, the accompanying wine helped to enhance the occasion!  We sampled a nice organic apple wine from a two year old New Hampshire winery – Sweet Baby Vineyard in Kensington, NH.  Check out this really cool video about this family run business.

Marc Duquette owns and operates Marc’s Garden when he is not working his day job.  Marc’s brother Normand, among other ventures, designs websites at www.NuDuVI.com.