By Samantha
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When is a salad no longer a salad? I was inspired by this dish (and thought-provoking concept) from the Canal House kitchen recently.

“We were about to make a ‘chef’s’ salad of sorts for lunch today, but switched gears when we noticed the big russet potatoes in the bin on our kitchen counter. Yes, still a salad, but first we peeled the potatoes, grated them on the large holes of a box grater, added chopped scallions, salt, and pepper, then fried them in a lot of butter into crisp rösti. While the potato cakes finished browning, we tossed bibb lettuce, radicchio, and parsley leaves in a garlicky vinaigrette then piled the salad atop the rösti and added a flourish of silky smoked salmon as a garnish. Guess we can call this home cook’s salad.” – Canal House Lunch 

I still can’t believe these talented cooks are just up the river in Frenchtown, NJ. I hope to meet them some day… and I also hope someone buys me their cookbook set (hint hint, family & friends). Not only do they look and feel beautiful, they are packed with simple, seasonal recipes for the avid locavore.

So when I had the opportunity to pick up some potatoes & greens from the farm market, and also had some radicchio in the fridge, I asked my husband to pick up some smoked salmon at the supermarket. Low and behold, he brought home my absolute favorite – Max & Me Smoked Salmon! Bless the Pennington Quality Market for carrying this local gem. This is a smoked salmon that Food & Wine claims is “silky, with well-balanced smokiness.” I have to agree.

Max Hansen Kitchen cold-smokes over 1,000lbs of smoked salmon every week! Watch this video from the chef himself on how you can do some hot-smoking on your stovetop at home.

This meal had a lot of firsts for me. It was my first time making a rösti, and it was also my first time trying tatsoi! At least that I know of.

Rösti: This is similar to a latke, but it has no binder. So you do have to be careful when flipping. But once you get the hang of it, it’s a great way to bulk up a salad in a relatively healthy way (assuming you don’t overdo it with the butter!)

Tatsoi: This is an Asian variety of Brassica rapa (think bok choy, napa cabbage, rapini, and turnip) that is grown for its greens. I loved the soft texture and almost mustardy flavor. It’s also known as “spinach mustard” and Food52 referred to it as the “new spinach” in 2013… But I don’t think it really caught on. 😉

And when you look at the dish as a whole, you have the the silky smoked salmon (so flavorful and luscious) as a great contrast to the bright, garlicy vinaigrette with bitter radicchio and tender greens… Come to think of it, is there anything this salad DOESN’T have? Big thanks to the Canal House for the meal inspiration, and Max Hansen for the locally-smoked fish. You made my Tuesday dinner (and Wednesday lunch) exponentially more delicious!

About the Author

Grazin' in New Jersey since 1988

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