This main course salad can, of course, be made with any kind of fresh salmon, but during the very short season of Copper River salmon (approximately mid-May to mid-June), this is a perfect time to use it. The Copper River flows in Alaska and is almost 300 miles in length, challenging the salmon by its length and its strong, cold rapids. Therefore, Copper River salmon are strong and contain healthy stores of natural oils (Omega-3′s) and body fat, making the salmon extremely rich, flavourful and nutritious.
I love the combination of flavours in this salad, which I only slightly adapted from the version in Food & Wine. The lemon slices, garlic, capers and red pepper give the dish a kick without overpowering the salmon.
The salad can be started ahead, by toasting the bread, mixing the tomato garlic mixture and cutting the salmon into chunks. Then finishing the dish takes only about 20 minutes. Serve with a green vegetable, such as asparagus.
8 1″ thick slices of ciabatta, or Pizza Bianca (Terra Breads) cut into large chunks
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
16 grape tomatoes, halved
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 T. capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1 lemon, halved lengthwise and very thinly sliced
1/4 c. chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 t. crushed red pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 lbs. skinless Copper River salmon fillet, cut into 2-inch chunks
Preheat the oven to 450°. In a large roasting pan, toss the ciabatta chunks with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Roast for about 5 minutes, until the bread is lightly toasted.
In a large bowl, toss the tomato halves with the garlic, capers, lemon, parsley, crushed red pepper and 2 T. of the olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Stir the tomatoes into the toasted bread. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes, until the tomatoes begin to soften and break down.
Meanwhile, in the same bowl, toss the salmon with the remaining 1 T. of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Nestle the salmon into the bread and tomatoes, spooning some of the tomatoes on top. Roast for about 6 minutes, until the salmon is just cooked through. Serve right away.