A salad with fresh greens is always a welcome dish in late spring and summer. A salad with a well-balanced dressing is refreshing. What makes this one extra tempting is that this is a salad recipe with smoked trout.
A salad recipe meant to be served with wine
A staple in spring and summer at Alexander Valley Vineyards winery in California’s Sonoma County, this salad is a wine lover’s friend. In fact, the recipe was specifically designed to pair with the winery’s Rosé of Sangiovese, which our wine writer Barbara Barrielle describes as “sunshine in a bottle.”
And although we have to agree that the combination of the Alexander Valley Vineyards wine and this salad recipe with smoked trout sounds better than a gentle summer breeze, we have to say that this recipe is any dry Rosé’s best friend, be it a wine from Provence or California. (Here are some of my favorite dry Rosés for summertime and salads.)
The difference between smoked salmon and smoked trout
You may be asking yourself why the folks at Alexander Valley Vineyards make this recipe with smoked trout instead of smoked salmon. What’s the difference, you might wonder.
Well, for starters, they’re (obviously) two different fish. Both have a pinkish hue–in fact, both could be called salmon in color. And both trout and salmon are considered aphrodisiac. However trout is the paler of the two. Both smoked salmon and smoked trout can be prepared by either hot or cold smoking. (Here’s some additional information on the difference between hot and cold smoking.)
And while it seems that these two fish have enough in common to make swapping one for the other an obvious choice, these two fish are vastly different when it comes to flavor and texture.
Trout is the milder of the two fish. Particularly when it is cold smoked, it has a subtly smokey flavor, a hint of sweetness and barely any hint of “fishy” flavor. This is what makes it compelling to winemakers when they’re looking for fish to pair with their Rosés.
Trout is also a little different than salmon in texture. It flakes softly and has an almost buttery quality in the mouth. It offers a plush little pillow of flavor against the crunch of cucumber and the acidic bite of a well-balanced blush wine.
Can you substitute with salmon in this recipe with smoked trout? Yes, but…
You can always use salmon in a pinch–just not lox, or even the soft, thin, cold-smoked slices. Look for a thickly cut piece that you can flake. And keep in mind that, although it will still be tasty, the dish will no longer have the delicacy of the original.
Spring Salad with Smoked Trout
- 4 cups Local baby greens pea shoots, arugula, baby kale, watercress
- 1 Fennel bulb thinly sliced
- 4 Radishes thinly sliced
- 1/2 Cucumber thinly sliced
- 8 oz Smoked trout about 2 ounces per serving
- Edible flower petals for garnish
- ½ cup crème fraiche
- 1 tbsp Meyer lemon juice
- ½ tsp minced shallot
- ½ cup AVV olive oil
- Kosher salt to taste
- Place the creme fraiche, lemon juice and shallot in the blender, and briefly blend to mix.
- With blender running, and olive oil slowly through the top of the machine, processing until smooth and creamy.
- Season with salt to taste. (Any leftover dressing can be saved in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to 4 days.)
- To serve, arrange the washed and thoroughly dried greens on a plate. Then layer with radish, fennel and cucumber. Dot with smoked trout.
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