I’m sharing this Sauce Pizza and Wine (copycat) salmon and kale salad because I am on a salad for an entrée kind of kick during these hot summer months. I’m also trying extremely hard to make healthy food choices. And this salad happens to be one of my favorites for a while now.
The Phoenix area has a great food scene. Some of the more popular restaurants belong to Fox Restaurant Concepts, headquartered in Scottsdale. Sauce Pizza and Wine was one of their restaurants until they sold the brand in 2015. But I still love the food, both for its taste and quality. And this salad is a great example.
Arizona lifted some of its stay-in-place restrictions in May, but when we became one of the nation’s top hot spots for COVID-19, the governor allowed counties to mandate new restrictions. As such, the Phoenix area is under mandatory mask rules in public, and restaurants that can enforce social distancing can serve dine-in with reduced capacity. Sauce Pizza and Wine is one of those. I haven’t eaten in one recently, but I did stop by at lunch while running errands and asked for the salmon and kale salad to go.
Gosh, I love this salad! Chewy tender farro, crunchy rich cashews, sweet currants, the bright and crisp romaine with the dark and satisfying kale. All tossed with a beautifully light and delicious champagne vinaigrette. Topped with luscious, moist, pan-seared salmon. What’s not to love?
Let’s make the Sauce Pizza and Wine (copycat) salmon and kale salad
This is what you need for the dressing.
And this is what you need for the salad.
Our local grocery stores tend to not carry currants outside the holiday season, so whenever I make this salad, I use raisins instead. If you are not a fan of raisins, I bet it would be delicious with dried cranberries too.
Start with the vinaigrette so that the components have time to meld for better flavor.
The Dijon mustard acts as an emulsifier, giving the dressing a slightly creamy texture.
Place the salad ingredients in a bowl large enough to easily toss the dressed salad.
Then season the salmon with salt and pepper on both sides.
Heat a large non-stick skillet on medium heat. When it is hot, drizzle two slender strings of olive oil. One for each fish portion. You don’t need much oil at all.
Then place the salmon portions near the middle of the pan, but not touching. Allow them to cook until the bottom of the fish is opaque up to the center of the fish.
Then flip to sear the other side. You can just see on the left portion the line between the opaque top half and the still raw bottom half.
When the two opaque sides meet in the middle, remove from the heat and allow to rest.
In the meantime, toss the salad in the dressing. Then plate the salad into two entrée-sized dishes.
Break the seared salmon into chunks along the meat grain and place evenly over the top of the plated salad.
And that is it! You are ready to serve!
Look at that beautiful thing! That buttery, melt-in-your-mouth, simply seasoned salmon, on a bed of a satisfying salad full of textures and flavors. Perfectly dressed in the delicate champagne vinaigrette. Just enough dressing to bring the elements together while still letting their flavors shine.
And it tastes JUST LIKE Sauce Pizza and Wine’s salmon and kale salad. Healthy and scrumptious. It’s a win-win people!
So, give it a try. This much healthy deliciousness, made quick and simple, needs to be part of your new salad rotation.
- FOR THE VINAIGRETTE
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1½ tablespoons champagne vinegar
- ½ teaspoon fresh minced garlic
- ¼ cup quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar
- Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- FOR THE SALAD
- 2 skinless salmon portions, about 6-7 ounces, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- 4 cups Romaine hearts, torn into approximately 2-inch pieces
- 2 cups Lacinato kale (dinosaur kale) torn into approximately 2-inch pieces, without ribs
- ¼ cup currants, can substitute raisins
- ½ cup cooked farro
- ½ cup coarse cashew pieces
- Salt and cracked pepper to taste
- Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together and set aside.
- Place all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Then season both sides of the salmon portions with salt and fresh cracked pepper.
- When the pan is hot, drizzle two thin lines of olive oil near the center of the pan about 4 inches apart. Then place a salmon portion on each length of drizzled oil, making sure they do not touch.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the bottom flesh of the fish has become opaque to the center of the filet.
- Flip the fish and cook the other side until the entire side view of the fish is opaque. Remove from heat and let rest for a minute.
- Toss the salad in the vinaigrette and then transfer the dressed salad to two large plates.
- Break the pan-seared salmon portions into chunks along the grain of the meat. Top the two salads with the chunks of salmon and serve.
To measure, keep in mind that unlike rice, which tends to triple in volume after cooking, farro only doubles. And there is no need to measure water exactly.
Bring more than enough water to cover the farro to a boil, add salt, add the farro, and then reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the grain is soft but still chewy. Don't overcook or it may still be chewy but may be too starchy.
When cooked, pour into a strainer to drain and allow to cool.
For this recipe, I needed ½ cup of cooked farro, so I added ¼ cup of raw farro to the boiling water.