Food & Drink

Pair heat and sweet with honey jerk salmon on a bed of greens

A sweet kale and honey jerk salmon salad with mixed spring greens and a tangy citrus dressing. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
A sweet kale and honey jerk salmon salad with mixed spring greens and a tangy citrus dressing. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
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Well everyone, we made it to August. In years past we might not have been so celebratory over making it eight months into any particular year as a society, but this year is definitely an exception. While enjoying these last days of summer, let’s lighten our spirits with a crisp, refreshing, healthy, yet delicious, honey jerk salmon salad with garlic and herb baguette medallions.

Salads are a great way to consume everything you need nutritionally in one bowl. Bright and vibrant veggies and fruit bring color as well as nutritional value. The greens help your body perform like a well-oiled machine and add a little crunch, which is always nice. Then there is the star of the show: the Honey Jerk Salmon. The salmon is flaky, sweet and spicy — just the way some would describe me.

There are no limits to what salads can be and do and this salad is no exception. The versatility of this salad is mind blowing. You can use any protein or none at all. There are endless arrays of fruits and vegetables to choose from. Adding grains and nuts can bring up the nutritional value of whatever salad you choose to create.

Let’s talk protein. The salmon is the star of this salad, as it should be. I used a fresh water caught salmon fillet. The jerk spices, butter and real honey make this salmon swim in flavor. In my opinion, every type of seafood comes alive with citrus so, of course, I had to use some lemon for a little zing.

While shopping I found some crystallized lemon packets in the baking aisle, and it has been a real blessing in my kitchen, so much so that I bought a box of individual crystallized lime packets.

This salmon recipe may sound overwhelming, but it all comes together beautifully on your palate. The salmon pairs nicely with bitter greens, sweet kale, cranberries, sunflower seeds and garlic baguette medallions, but almost any protein would.

You can use a turkey breast cutlet that is seasoned and grilled. You can use a nice juicy New York strip steak. Bacon of any kind would work. You could even use a combination of proteins. Why limit yourself from having fun with a light and healthy meal that can be enjoyed during any and all seasons?

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Food should be enjoyed by all your senses and this salad brings a sensory overload in the healthiest ways. You won’t be disappointed when you recreate your own version of honey jerk salmon on a bed of sweet kale and field greens salad with garlic butter and herb baguette medallions.

So now its time to roll up those sleeves, wash our hands and get started creating your own version of culinary art.

Reach Michelle Madden at Da Munchie Plug LLC on Facebook.

Honey Jerk Salmon

For this recipe you can make your own jerk rub, or you can just buy prepackaged jerk seasoning/marinade at the store.

1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets, about 4 (5- or 6-oz) portions

For the jerk rub

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 tablespoon orange juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 habanero or jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon lightly packed orange zest

1 teaspoon lightly packed lime zest

3/4 teaspoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup real honey

Make the rub: Mix all of the rub ingredients together in a medium bowl.

Smear the rub evenly on the tops and sides of the salmon fillets. Put on the glass baking dish so the fillets are not touching. Then generously drizzle the tops with honey.

Bake in glass baking dish covered in aluminum foil for 15 to 18 minutes. Cooking time depends on the thickness of your salmon. Thinner cuts will cook more quickly than thicker cuts, so adjust accordingly.

Leftover salmon will keep in the refrigerator for 4 days. It does not freeze well, but you can make salmon cakes/croquettes and freeze those. I like it on top of the garlic butter baguette medallions with spinach dip.

Garlic Butter and Herb Baguette Medallions

1 baguette

1/2 stick of salted butter cut into tablespoons

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon lemon pepper

1 tablespoon ground garlic (mix)

Slice baguette horizontally into 1- to 2-inch round medallions.

Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper in a flat single layer.

Cut the butter pats in thirds and place one-third of the butter pat on each medallion and sprinkle with the seasoning mix.

Bake at 350 degrees for 2 minutes until the edges are crisp and the middle is chewy. If you bake them longer they will then be too hard. If that happens, they can be used for croutons instead, so all won’t be lost.

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