Lemony Dill Halibut Salad: A Scandinavian Refresh

I created this halibut salad this weekend after we had some friends over for dinner. My husband had cooked about three huge pieces of halibut from our June trip to Alaska and we had about a pound of cooked halibut leftover. While cleaning up on Saturday, I put it in the fridge. On Sunday I decided to do something with it to avoid waste.

My taste buds steered me towards a lemony Scandinavian flavor profile that day…I had attended the Nordic Culinary Conference here in Seattle back in May and I think it was those thrifty creative chefs—Claus Meyer, Sasu Laukonnen, and Titti Qvanstrom—  who inspired my path that afternoon.  At the conference, the chefs discussed how they avoid waste, use local ingredients, and employ simple techniques to ramp up inherent flavors and achieve impressive dishes.

So…while staring at a Pyrex dish full of flaky white fish,  I challenged myself to make a fresh and appealing salad with the leftover. Rather than just mix it up with some mayo which is the  traditional route to go for those who do employ leftover fish in their kitchens…I decided to ramp up the flavors.

Leftover fish can be a tough sell.  I wanted a “refresh”.

So, I looked in the fridge and the garden and pulled my Cuisinart forth on the counter. My food processor is crucial for challenges like this. It speeds the process and makes fish tidier to work with.  From the garden, I gathered a handful of dill, and a rummage through the fridge yielded some decent celery and a big voluptuous lemon.  With that, I had a game plan!

The key to my Halibut Refresh? I added lemon juice BUT I added it at a critical point.

I didn’t want to dilute that burst of sunshine.  I wanted to make sure it played a key role so I sprinkled the juice directly on the halibut and processed the halibut, celery and lemon BEFORE I added the mayonnaise.  I am convinced that this simple sequence in steps made an enormous difference in my end result because the lemon got mixed into the fish and the fish absorbed it, becoming light, sunny, and citrusy in the process. I then added the dill and the mayonnaise.

Here’s the recipe. A ridiculously appealing Alaska Halibut salad with definite Scandinavian tilt. I enjoyed it on piece of Larsen’s Bakery Light Finnish Rye. A match made in heaven.

Lemon and Dill Halibut Salad

3 celery stalks, cut into big chunks

8 to 10 ounces cooked halibut (poached, grilled or baked is fine), broken up into chunks

1 large lemon, rolled on the counter and then juiced*

2 to 3 tablespoons fresh dill

2 to 3 tablespoons low fat mayonnaise,  or to taste

Salt to taste

To Serve:

For serving: slices of lightly toasted rye bread and fresh Bibb lettuce leaves

For garnish: citrus zest, thinly sliced red onion, extra dill

 

Put the metal blade in the food processor, add the celery chunks and process the celery with three or four pulses to chop it. Put the halibut in the food processor, drizzle the lemon juice directly over the cooked halibut. Pulse once or twice to mix and incorporate the lemon juice. Add the fresh dill and the mayonnaise and pulse three or four times just to mix. Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste.

To create an open faced sandwich: Serve the salad on lightly toasted rye with a piece of lettuce and garnished with zest, extra dill, and thinly sliced onion if desired.

*Lemon Tip: To extract the most juice from a lemon, roll it on a counter before you juice it. You can also prick a couple holes the lemon, zap it in the microwave for twenty seconds, roll it on the counter and then juice it. These little techniques go a long way towards extracting all that sunshine from a lemon!

 

 

 

Super Simple Salsa–Better than Store Bought

S

Let’s talk about salsa. Of course, there are endless options on the market these days…jarred, canned, fresh and refrigerated.

Deliciously versatile and a staple in most households, salsa can quickly and easily be made at home. I started making my own many years ago.  Admittedly, I don’t always make it from scratch but when I do, it’s far superior to any that I can purchase on the market. I developed this super simple salsa when my children were very little. Back then their peewee taste buds were purer  and more sensitive. They didn’t always like the harsh and fiery salsas being sold. Rather than skip the salsa all together, I developed this basic version, which allowed me to leave the hot peppers out of the picture while at the same time allowing me to sneak tomatoes and corn (precious nutritional commodities aka vegetables!) into my children’s diets.

I also love this recipe because it can be quickly and easily made in my Cuisinart mini chopper or food processor. Using only a few basic ingredients and lots of fresh coriander, this refreshing and bright salsa is great with tortilla chips, in burritos and cheesy quesadillas or dolloped on top of a fish taco or grilled salmon.

Salsa

Missy’s Super Simple Salsa

1 large garlic clove
1/4 small red onion
10 fresh coriander sprigs, leaves and stems included
one 28-can Fire-Roasted Muir Glen diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon olive oil, or to taste
1 teaspoon cumin
1 cup fresh or defrosted corn
With the metal blade in place and the motor running, drop the garlic clove into the food processor, letting it bounce around and get diced. Add the red onion and coriander sprigs through the feed tube and pulse the mixture seven or eight times.

Drain about half the liquid from the tomatoes and add the tomatoes to the work bowl with the olive oil, the cumin and a little salt and pepper to taste.

Pulse the motor again about seven or eight times. (Note: Do not let the machine run continuously because this would puree the mixture and prevent your salsa from being characteristically chunky. )

Season the salsa taste with additional seasonings if necessary. Add the corn and pulse once or twice to mix.

Makes about 3 cups.