Rather than test the theory, I decided to go in a different direction this year. I wanted to create a light, yet still filling dish that would work well no matter what time of day it was served — brunch, lunch or dinner. And I wanted it to play nicely with whatever else was served.
The solution was deliciously easy — a salad of shaved fresh fennel and red onion tossed with a light dressing spiked with dill, whole-grain mustard and just a pinch of sugar. And heaped on top? Roasted new potatoes and a mound of thinly sliced smoked salmon dressed with lemon juice, olive oil and black pepper.
Shaved fennel and smoked salmon salad
12 ounces new potatoes, quartered
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and ground black pepper
1 large or 2 medium bulbs fennel, trimmed
1/2 small red onion
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
8 ounces cold-smoked salmon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Chopped fresh dill
Heat the oven to 425 F.
In a medium bowl, toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Transfer the potatoes to a baking sheet, then roast until tender and lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the roasted potatoes to a plate and refrigerate just until no longer hot, about 10 minutes.
While the potatoes cook and cool, use a mandoline or food processor to shave the fennel as thinly as possible. Do the same with the onion. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, 2 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil, the mustard, sugar and a hefty pinch each of salt and pepper. Add the shaved fennel and onion, then toss until well coated. Divide the mixture between 4 serving plates. Top with the cooled potatoes.
Divide the salmon into thin slices. In a medium bowl, drizzle the salmon with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive and the lemon juice. Gently toss to coat, then season with pepper. Mound a quarter of the salmon over each salad, then sprinkle with fresh dill.
Nutrition information per serving: 280 calories; 150 calories from fat (54 percent of total calories); 17 g fat (2.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 15 mg cholesterol; 22 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 13 g protein; 870 mg sodium.
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