There’s a shift between seasons where it’s still spring, not quite summer, and yet our attitudes change. Closed-toed shoes make way for sandals. The once dormant grill comes back to life, searing food with sensational flavor. We don’t need any reason to get together with friends and family. We just do it and we know which dishes work best for impromptu gatherings or planned-ahead parties. This Tomato, Cucumber and Salmon Bites Salad with Grilled Lemon Vinaigrette was made for easy entertaining. It’s a perfect recipe for Memorial Day or Fourth of July festivities or even when you’re craving something cool and quick. Sprinkling Alaska Salmon Bites into the salad adds protein to a salad making what is good even better.
Tomato, Cucumber and Salmon Bites Salad with Grilled Lemon Vinaigrette
I love to grill lemons throughout the year. This method mellows the citrus flavor, removes bitterness, and the lemons tend to be juicier afterwards. If you don’t have a grill or the weather outside is doesn’t permit grilling, you can heat up a cast iron skillet on medium high. Place the halved lemons pulp side down to caramelize. If you are daring and have a gas stove like I do, balance the halves right on the burner over medium flame--just watch out for flare-ups and have tongs nearby to turn the lemons.
YIELD: 6-8 servings
Grilled Lemon Vinaigrette
3 lemons, halved, then cut crosswise ½ inch thick
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 pound tomatoes, chopped into chunks
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup grilled lemon vinaigrette
2 pounds English cucumber, chopped into chunks
1 red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh basil, torn into small pieces
Make the vinaigrette: grill or broil lemon halves until charred. Set aside the grilled lemon until cool to the touch. Place a large coarse strainer set over a bowl. Squeeze the lemon halves into the strainer to catch the seeds and pulp. Pour in the olive oil in a thin stream, while whisking. Stir in the salt.
Assemble the salad: Toss the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and 1/3 cup of lemon vinaigrette in a large non-reactive bowl. Set aside for 30 minutes on the counter. Toss the cucumber, onions, basil, and Salmon Bites to coat in the dressing and serve.