|A nice fresh fish salad with refrigerator pickles…just right on a hot summer day.|
Since my local weather experts have been fairly reliable in their forecasts, though, I was able to prepare for this eventuality.
Our Friday Night Plates (our regular get-together with our extended, volunteer family) got chillin'. The Bat brewed up and then refrigerated some peppermint tea in advance of the evening, and I prepped a batch of gluten-free key lime tarts (more on that, maybe, in another post), a bowl of fruit compote (I cheat. Canned fruits are very useful when you're between seasons), and, most importantly, a nice big bowl of salmon salad.
In searching the web for ideas, I noticed that the most popular salmon salads are leafy greens piled with hot, freshly grilled fish and a few other must-slave-in-the-heat items. This would not do for me. I was looking for something kind of chill-out-y and picnic-y.
What I offered the family was easily prepared in advance, can be made with canned, pouched, smoked, steamed, or even grilled salmon, and is relatively low in carbs.
Chilled Salmon Salad
1 lb fresh or frozen boneless, skinless salmon filets, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1/2- to 3/4 cup diced celery
3 ounces capers, rinsed and drained
4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup lemon or lime juice (or more to taste)
At least 3 hours before serving, steam salmon chunks (or bake in a nonstick covered dish at low heat -- about 300-325° F) until just opaque and easily flaked with a fork. It shouldn't take more than 5 minutes, either way.
When the salmon is cooked, place in covered dish in refrigerator until completely chilled.
Cut celery into small cubes, rinse and drain capers, setting aside a dozen or so for garnish. Lightly mix the rest into the cold salmon.
For the dressing: in a small mixer bowl, whip softened cream cheese until fluffy, gradually add in olive oil and mix thoroughly. Finally, mix in lemon or lime juice until the dressing has the consistency of mayonnaise. If you want, you can add a little more juice to boost the flavor, but don't get carried away.
Gently stir the dressing into the salmon mixture.
Serve chilled on your favorite bread or a bed of tender leaf lettuce. Garnish with sliced cucumbers or fresh pickles.