I had plans for a friend to come to lunch and I decided I'd use her as a guinea pig for my new salad idea. I think it turned out beautifully! There are a few elements that come together to make this dish, but every one is definitely worth it. The good news is that the vinaigrette doubles as a dressing and a marinade, plus you can make this ahead of time and keep it in the fridge.
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Lemon Kale Salad w/ Spiced Salmon
1 bunch kale
2 lemons, zest one and juice both
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I used aleppo pepper flakes.)
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1-1/2 cups asparagus, cut into bite-size lengths
8 ounce salmon fillet
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
1 teaspoon butter
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Blanch the asparagus pieces (boil in salted water 2-3 minutes, cool in ice water, drain) and set aside.
Rinse the kale leaves well and strip them from the stems. Dry well. Massage the leaves gently for a few minutes. This breaks down the cellulose, making the leaves more tender and less bitter. Chop the kale and place in a large bowl with the asparagus. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon, olive oil, red pepper flakes, mustard, salt and pepper. On your cutting board, smash the garlic clove, coarsely chop and sprinkle with salt. Using the flat of your knife, smush the garlic and salt into a paste. Add it to your dressing ingredients and whisk well. Pour about half of the dressing onto the kale and toss to coat. Place in refrigerator to chill. Whisk the cayenne pepper and paprika into the remaining dressing and pour over the salmon fillet. Bake at 325° for 18-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Toss in the walnuts and seasonings. Cook, continuing to toss frequently 3-5 minutes, until the nuts are fragrant and toasted.
When ready to serve, toss the salad with the walnuts and goat cheese; top with the salmon.