Being kind to oneself – Salmon Salad with Wasabi Dressing

my blue&white kitchen

I wasn't quite sure if I should publish this post the way it looks now. You know, I'm not fully satisfied with the salad shots. I felt the urge to shoot them again. To do better. But then I looked at my day planner and realized that the coming week would be a busy one. Train rides, lectures on the university, making analyses for my thesis, work shifts. I wouldn't be at home during the daylight hours. So I would either have to post this with the shots I had, or you guys would have to wait for this delicious salad for one whole week longer.

You must know, I'm someone who always tries to do her very best. Always trying to push further, challenging myself. As a kid, my parents needed to tell me to do less, not more. Over the years, I've learned to be more forgiving to myself. It doesn't come natural to me; it's a thing I need to do consciesly. "It's okay." "You've already done enough for today." So here I am, putting this online without being fully satisfied with it. Being kinder to myself. Telling myself "It's alright".

And, like you see on these pictures, I think I need to be kinder to spring too. It snowed last week. Oh well... But at least the sun never left.

my blue&white kitchen

Today, I share a salad with you that I've been enjoying often during the last couple of weeks. A mix of different greens, pan-fried salmon, and a highly addictive wasabi dressing. A wonderful composition. I didn't want to give you strict quantities for the ingredients. After all, a salad is a forgiving dish. Choose what's in season or what looks especially delicious at the store or at the farmer's market. How big is your appetite? Two or three handfuls of salad? Maybe you don't like salmon? Leave it out or substitute it with something else. Really, go ahead, and make this salad yours.

Salmon Salad with Wasabi Dressing | my blue&white kitchen

Salmon Salad with Wasabi Dressing

This salad is greatly inspired by the salmon and avocado salad from the Helsinki-based restaurant Rafla. The recipe can also be found in the Finnish cookbook Safkaa - Parempaa arkiruokaa by Alexander & Hanna Gullichsen, p. 33

150 g salmon per person, cut lenghtwise into 1 cm thick fillets
fine sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to season
lime, to drizzle on top

a mix of different salads & herbs (I used frisée salad, bloody dock, pea tendrils, & cilantro), washed & dried
piece of carrot, cut into long stripes
piece of cucumber, cut into long stripes
avocado, halved & sliced
edamame beans, cooked (I used frozen ones)
radishes, thinly sliced
gari (Japanese pickled ginger)

for the dressing (serves 2):
juice of ½ a lime
pinch of fine sea salt
2 tsp wasabi
4 tbsp neutral vegetable oil, like canola

to serve:
pumpkin seeds, toasted
rice vinegar
salt & freshly ground black pepper, optional

For the dressing, whisk together the lime juice, salt, and wasabi until completely combined. While whisking constantly, slowly add the oil. This is crucial to keep the dressing from separating.

In a frying pan, fry the salmon, skin side down first, until cooked through. While cooking, season with salt & pepper, and drizzle with some lime juice.

Arrange the salad on a plate, sprinkle with some toasted pumpkin seeds, and drizzle with some rice vinegar. 

Salmon Salad with Wasabi Dressing | my blue&white kitchen

Last Breath – Beet & Potato Latkes

beet & potato latkes :: my blue&white kitchen

Do you still remember how I told you that February is my favorite winter month? Well, that was before this February. It has been a letdown. A total bummer. Where are the freezing temperatures? Where is the bright sunshine? I wanted to take long walks on the lake ice. I wanted to wear sunglasses because the harsh light that would be reflected by the white snow would otherwise hurt my eyes. I wanted to go sledding with my friends and drink Lumumba from a thermos. Instead, it has been gray and wet. Snow? Gone. February 2014, nul point.

I don't want it to be winter anymore if it looks like this. Spring. I want it to be spring.

beet & potato latkes :: my blue&white kitchen

At the same time as I wish this season would be already over, I realize (with a slight feeling of terror) that I don't have much time to enjoy the wintery foods. Like beets. I've had them way too seldom. I haven't made borscht. I haven't baked a chocolate beet cake yet. I've not eaten enough of beet salad with arugula, chèvre, and walnuts.

This is me taking my last breaths of winter. This is me shaking off the gray dust of February. This is me making beet & potato latkes.

Will you join me?

beet & potato latkes :: my blue&white kitchen

Beet & Potato Latkes

makes about 20 latkes, enough to serve 4–6 hungry souls

The ruby red latkes topped with creamy sour cream, salmon with a subtle smoke note, crispy apples to fresh it up, and the classic pairing of dill. These latkes aren't only gorgeous to look at but also damn delicious. I think they are perfect served at a get-together with a simple green salad and a glass of sparkling wine. I used blazing salmon as I really love its flavor but you can substitute it with regular cooked salmon. Blazing salmon is a traditional Finnish fish preparation, in which the salmon is nailed to a wooden plank and partly smoked, partly cooked over an open fire. It's one of my most favorite ways to enjoy salmon, especially in salads, as smoked salmon often has a too strong flavor for my liking.

For the latkes:
375 g (13 oz) red beets, peeled
900 g (2 pounds) starchy potatoes, like Russet, peeled
2 eggs (M)
40 g (1.5 oz; 0,6 dl; ¼ cups) fine plain tried breadcrumbs
1 tbsp fine sea salt

vegetable oil, for frying

To serve:
~ 375 g (12 oz) salmon (preferably blazing salmon)
~ 300 g (10 oz) sour cream
2 tart apples, cubed
dill sprigs

Preheat the oven to 150°C (325°F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place a wire rack on top of it. Line another baking sheet with paper towels.

Using the large holes of a box grater, grate the beets and potatoes. Place in a colander and let drain for 10–15 minutes. Press the shreds firmly against the colander a couple of times to draw out excess moisture. We want the shreds to be as dry as possible to ensure crispy latkes!

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, breadcrumbs, and salt. Add the beet and potato shreds. Using your hands or a silicone spatula, mix until well coated.

Generously coat a large frying pan with oil (about ⅓ cm / 1/8" high) and heat over medium-high heat. Drop a small amount of latke mixture into the pan – if the oil sizzles around the edges, it's ready. Working in batches, drop large spoonfuls of the latke mixture into the hot pan and press slightly with the back of your spoon to flatten. My latkes were around 1 cm / ½" thick and 7,5 cm / 3" in diameter. Fry until brown and crisp, about 2–3 minutes per side.

Transfer the latkes to the paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain, then transfer to the prepared wire rack. Place the sheet with the wire rack and latkes in the oven to keep warm and crisp while continuing to fry the remaining latkes.

Serve the latkes warm with sour cream, salmon, apples, and dill as well as a simple green salad.

beet & potato latkes :: my blue&white kitchen

Real-life food blogger note: The day I shot this post (last Tuesday) was one of those nasty, gray days. The secret behind these sunny looking pictures? A foam board. Praise the foam board!