Yesterday was Father's Day in Finland. And instead of us treating J's father to dinner, he instead cooked for all 16 of us. He's a great cook, so a meal at his house never disappoints. We gathered around the large table in the kitchen to share stories and laughter, watch the kids' antics and enjoyed each other's company over a meal of roast beef with rowan berry jelly, horseradish cream and gravy; his own smoked salmon with dill sauce and lemon, baked potatoes, roasted carrots, rutabagas and cabbage, a beautiful salad filled with fresh fruit, blue cheese and pecans, and some wonderful fresh bread. And even though there was a big crowd of people, we couldn't keep up with the vast quantity of food despite valiant efforts and several plate refills.
|Smoked Salmon Salad on a baked potato with a side of steamed broccoli|
Leftovers like these are a good problem to have, so we cheerfully said "Yes!" when he offered to send some home with us. The recipe I share with you here was made in part from those leftovers, but even if you don't have smoked salmon and baked potatoes at the ready, a quick trip to the store and 40 minutes or so of baking for the potatoes will put you in the position at the table to enjoy this delicious and easy meal.
The first time I had smoked salmon salad was at a lunch place in Finland called Moko Market. There are actually two Moko Markets - one in Sörnäinen, where we usually go, and one in Punavuori, the original one. Apparantly Moko Market started out as a place to sell fun, quirky, good quality new and well-loved, but refurbished household goods. One day the owner decided to start serving lunch, and the lines were immediately out the door on weekdays, with the local business crowds lining up for the good, wholesome, healthy food. The brunches on Saturdays are pretty amazing too, by the way, so put that on your agenda next time you are in Helsinki.
The salmon salad is part of the salad bar offering: you order the salad and then get to choose three toppings, select your house made dressing and fresh bread, and it's happy days for the next 20 or 30 minutes as you enjoy the impressive and unique flavors coming out of the kitchen.
The smoked salmon salad is so good; I've wanted to try it home for a while. Here is my version, served over baked potatoes with a side of steamed broccoli. Be sure to use salmon that has been heat-smoked rather than salmon that has been cold-smoked, otherwise you won't get the right texture for this salad.
|Smoked Salmon Salad and Baked Potatoes|
Smoked Salmon Salad & Baked Potatoes
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Wash two baking potatoes but do not peel them. Oil the outside of the potatoes lightly with olive oil. Pierce each potato a couple times with a fork. Place the potatoes on a baking tray in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender and pierced easily with a butter knife. If your potatoes are very large, you may need more cooking time (and more smoked salmon salad!) Remove from oven and proceed with the recipe below.
200g / 8 ounces heat-smoked salmon, cold or at room temperature
1/4 cup minced onion
4-5 teaspoons creme fraiche
2 potatoes, baked (see instructions above)
butter, to serve
fresh ground pepper to serve
lemon wedges, one per person
Combine the smoked salmon, onion and creme fraiche in a medium-sized bowl. Using a fork, smash and mix the ingredients together so that the salmon breaks down into small pieces and is well combined with the onion and creme fraiche. Squeeze lemon juice over the top and mix again.
Cut the baked potatoes in the center, leaving the bottom half of the skin intact. Spread each potato open and, using a fork, fluff up the potato inside each half. Put a dab of butter on each half of the hot potato, and place a big spoonful of smoked salmon salad in the middle of each potato.
Serve with a lemon wedge and steamed broccoli, and have pepper on the table for those who enjoy a little pepper with their baked potatoes.
Serves 2; double or triple as needed.
Labels: baked potatoes, dinner, healthy dinners, smoked salmon, smoked salmon salad