Part of embracing summer is embracing salads. And while side salads of all varieties find their way onto our tables day after day, a truly inspired main dish salad is also a thing of beauty. This time around, we're featuring one packed with marinated beans, sautéed salmon and asparagus, and crisp, fresh vegetables and greens. There's a lot to love.
If the beans in this salad seem familiar, it's because they were also featured in our recent Steak and Kale Caesar Salad. In fact, I prefer to make a double batch of the beans and have both salads in one week. After all, we're in the days when temperatures in the 80s and 90s (or higher) keep us from wanting to spend too much time in the kitchen, so using one part of a dish in two meals is particularly helpful.
A cold beverage and a shady spot in the yard are all that's needed to round out this meal. Keep things cool later by having a slice of watermelon a bit later to satisfy your sweet tooth. And remember to embrace the warmth we have now - before you know it, we'll be back to shoveling snow!
- 8 oz. dried pinto beans
- 4 c. cold water
- 2 tsp. salt
- 4 cloves garlic, divided
- ¼ c. olive oil
- ¼ c. red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- Fresh ground pepper
- 1 T. cooking fat - I used bacon fat
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 boneless salmon fillets
- 1 bunch asparagus - ends trimmed, cut into 1" pieces
- 2 T. finely chopped green garlic
- 16 oz. mixed salad greens, torn
- 2-3 French radishes, sliced
- 2 green onions, sliced
To make the beans, place them, the water, salt, and 2 cloves of garlic (chopped) in a pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes. Allow the beans to naturally release the pressure before draining and adding the remaining ingredients - including the remaining 2 cloves of garlic, minced. Stir to combine. Taste and season with additional salt if desired. Cover and transfer the beans to the refrigerator. Let marinate for at least 1 hour while you prepare the rest of the salad. (Alternately, you can opt to make a double batch of the beans for the Steak and Kale Caesar Salad and enjoy two beautiful main dish salads in a few days.)
While the beans are marinating, prepare the salmon and asparagus. Heat the cooking fat of your choice in a cast iron or similarly heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly season the salmon with salt and pepper and add the fillets to the hot pan. Sear for 3-5 minutes per side to reach your desired level of doneness. Remove the fish to a plate and keep warm. Add the asparagus and green garlic to the hot pan and sauté until crisp-tender. The green garlic should be slightly fried and the asparagus should be bright green and a little browned at the edges.
Place the salad greens in a large salad bowl. Add the marinated beans, asparagus, radishes, green onions, and tomatoes. Toss well and portion out to four serving plates. Add a salmon fillet to each salad and, if desired, top with a few sautéed pieces of asparagus and green garlic. Serve immediately.
- Yields: 4 servings
- Preparation Time: 45 minutes plus marinating time for the beans