Lemon Caper Vinaigrette paired with Smoked Salmon and Watercress
For the Crouton bread:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups pumpernickel bread, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked white pepper
For the dressing:
1 minced shallot
2-3 cloves crushed garlic
1T Dijon mustard
1T chopped capers with their liquid
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4c champagne or white balsamic vinegar
dash of Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the salad:
12 slices thinly sliced Irish smoked salmon (about 8 ounces)
1 pound watercress, stemmed, washed and spun dry
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 hard-cooked eggs, finely chopped
Heat a 10-inch saute pan over medium-high heat, and add the butter and olive oil to the pan. Once the butter is melted, add the pumpernickel cubes to the pan and toss to coat with the butter and oil. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the white pepper. Continue to cook and toss the bread until all the butter and oil have been absorbed. Place the pan in the oven and continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until the bread is crisp, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and allow to cool before using.
Make the vinaigrette by combining the shallots, garlic, mustard, honey, capers, lemon juice, champagne vinegar, dill and parsley in a non-reactive mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper. While whisking, add the extra-virgin olive oil in a thin, steady stream until the vinaigrette is well combined and partially emulsified. Set the vinaigrette aside while you prepare the salad.
On 4 large, chilled entree plates, place three slices of the salmon in a triangular pattern along the edges of the plates. In a large non-reactive bowl, place the watercress and the red onion. Season lightly with salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Toss the salad to mix the watercress and onion, and add about 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette to the salad. Toss lightly to combine. Divide the salad among the 4 plates, and divide the croutons among the plates. Garnish the salad with the chopped eggs and serve immediately.
Pairs Well With
An amazingly versatile dressing, this are one of my staple "always in the fridge" dressing, but it is absolutely to die for when you combine it with this salad!