Top this trout and dill salad with chips for extra fun
I’m going to get right to it: I developed this entire recipe because I wanted an excuse to eat potato chips for dinner. Not potato chips as a side to a sandwich. Not potato chips as an appetizer before dinner. Potato chips as an element of an easy but thought-out, complete meal.
It’s a green salad with chunks of smoked trout, crunchy cucumber and a tangy, well-balanced dill dressing that gets topped with a smattering of potato chips just before it’s served.
Maybe you, too, love potato chips? Maybe you, too, daydream about excuses to eat them? Ponder the ideal thickness of a chip? Consider the seemingly endless chip flavors and their ideal accompanying dips? Maybe you even wonder if homemade chips are worth the trouble? Then this recipe is for you. (If you’re not a potato chip fan, fear not. You can still make this recipe! Just leave them off.)
It starts with a trick I learned from a Korean recipe for quick cucumber kimchi, in which the cucumbers are smashed a little bit, so that their juices run and mingle with the spicy brine. Here, you’ll shake slices of cucumber — along with a pinch each of salt and sugar — in a jar until they’re a bit battered. This process will cause them to release liquid, and this cucumber water will become the base for your dressing.
The dressing starts with finely chopped dill, which goes into a small bowl along with the cucumber water, mustard and honey. Form an emulsion by whisking in olive oil, a drizzle at a time. I always like to taste a dressing and adjust its ratios to my liking, so you should do the same.
With the dressing done, all that’s left to do is plate the salad. I like doing this on a large dinner plate — the recipe serves two — which makes it easy to share, but you can also serve it on individual plates. Scatter the greens with cucumber slices and chunks of smoked trout. Drizzle the dressing over everything, and then top with the potato chips — the best part.
Smoked Trout Salad With Dill Dressing and Potato Chips
Total time: 20 miinutes
— If you don’t like smoked trout, use smoked salmon, canned tuna or another tinned fish. You can also use fresh fish, simply sauteed, or fish roe. To make this vegan, I would use cubes of firm tofu marinated in soy sauce, smoked paprika and nori flakes.
— Substitute maple syrup for the honey.
— In place of cucumbers try radishes. They won’t release much liquid, so add a splash of water to compensate.
— If you don’t have cucumbers and like your salad dressing extra tart consider using pickles and pickle brine instead.
— If you don’t have white wine vinegar use rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
2 Persian cucumbers (5 ounces total), sliced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar, plus more as needed
Pinch fine salt
Pinch granulated sugar
3 cups (3 ounces) mixed spring greens or tender lettuce leaves
6 ounces smoked trout
1 small bunch fresh dill
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1 teaspoon honey
2-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
3/4 cup (2/3 ounce) loosely packed potato chips
In a jar with a tightfitting lid, combine the cucumber slices, vinegar, salt and sugar. Screw the lid on tightly and vigorously shake the jar for 30 seconds to 1 minute. This will bruise the cucumbers slightly, allowing them to release some of their liquid and infuse them with some of the vinegar.
On a platter or large plate, arrange the spring greens. Peel the skin off the trout and use your hands to break the fish into chunks, then scatter the trout evenly over the greens.
Pick the small fronds of dill off the large stems; discard the stems or save them for another use. Reserve about half of the small fronds for garnish. Chop the remaining fronds and add them to a small bowl. Drain the liquid from the cucumbers into the bowl. Using a fork, stir in the mustard and honey, then drizzle in the olive oil while stirring to form a dressing. Taste, and adjust the proportions of acid and oil to your liking.
Add the cucumbers, evenly spaced, to the greens and trout and drizzle the salad with the dressing. Sprinkle with the potato chips and garnish with the reserved dill fronds before serving, family style.
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