Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Simple summer salad

Yesterday for lunch Oliver and I enjoyed some delicious canned salmon (wild-caught, from Alaska). Generally I prefer to source our foods locally, but we have been tightening our budget belt a little lately and so I have turned to high-quality canned salmon as a great option for healthy fish. Oliver had his salmon pre-chewed (by me) and mixed with a little raw butter and a tiny pinch of sea salt. I opted to spread mine in chunks over a big fresh salad of red leaf and romaine lettuces, with red onion, radishes, and cucumber (all from the Union Square Greenmarket, purchased Monday). A big leafy green salad is a delicious and budget-friendly summer meal with each huge fresh head of lettuce currently at around $2-3. I got mine 2-for-$5 at a small organic stand run by a Korean couple. I also included some crumbled raw milk cheddar from Central Valley Farm. For dressing, I used the classic vinaigrette I love so well and enjoy making so much (see my instructions here).

When buying canned salmon, look for the words "wild-caught" and "Alaskan." Of course, if this is cost-prohibitive just get the best you can afford. However, the Alaskan salmon is generally considered cleaner in terms of pollution, and of course you always want to buy wild-caught, even if you are on a tight budget, as farmed salmon are notoriously bad for the environment and not great for your health either. Try to get a brand that contains only fish, and perhaps a little sea salt. And be sure to serve the skin and bones (they are quite soft), which are delicious and highly nutritious as well!

Naturally you will want to round out this meal a bit, depending on your appetite, activity level, and taste. I opted for a toasted slice of whole wheat sourdough miche (from Bread Alone, an organic bakery at the USG which doesn't include yeast in their sourdough). I spread it thickly with raw butter (from Springwater Farm in PA), and also had a local peach for dessert. If you're still hungry, include a glass of kefir or raw milk next time with your meal, or slice a hard-boiled pasture-raised egg on top of the salad.

Please weigh in here: what do you like for lunch in the summer? What do you enjoy putting on your salads? Where do you get great local ingredients?


  1. we make something very similar to this for dinner when it's too hot to cook. Recently, I've been into lettuce, tomato, red onion, tuna, white beans, blanched green beans, and anything else I can find in the house (cukes, carrots, peppers, cheese, etc). Toss with a vinaigrette (I use mustard and shallots in my dressings), and dinner is served!

  2. Mmm, mustard and shallots sounds great! I love Dijon mustard mixed with a little olive oil on leftover (cold) steamed green beans (or yellow beans, or purple beans, etc.). Your comment reminds me of the tuna possibility...maybe I will pick up a little piece of fresh tuna and marinate it in some lime juice & a little soy sauce, then serve over salad. YUM

  3. yay. i see you bought some tuna in your latest haul. i made some local scallop (that i bought at my farmer's market) ceviche this weekend. tons of lime juice, shallot, jalapeno, red pepper, salt. marinate in fridge overnight - DELICIOUS!!

  4. Please send me the recipe for your ceviche and I will post it!