20 May 2010

Roasted Salmon Nicoise Platter and Why I Need to Be Able to Run Faster

Bakes Salmon Nicoise Salad
Here I am sitting at the computer. In keeping with my goal to have a more active lifestyle I really should rise from this chair, grab my walking poles and head out the door. Soon, very soon:D Another reason why I feel I need to be more active will be evident soon. A long-time friend and former co-worker and I went hiking yesterday at Margaret Falls. It was a drizzly day so we had stopped first at Quaaout Lodge Resort  to stay dry, have a Blueberry Tea and share a dessert. It was a special occasion being my friends birthday so what better way to spend a special day than with a good friend hiking in the rain forests of British Columbia, Canada. Just to clarify that is rain forest and not rainy forest which would be fitting in this Spring weather. We don't get too many days where we both don't have other commitments, so, hiking has been a priority for us to get together for a while... as well as a visit to Gort's Cheese Farm.

Getting back to the purpose of this post and an explanation about why I need to be in better shape and run faster. While we were walking along the pathway on our hike we were confronted by a bear as we rounded a corner. I am not one to exaggerate and say I caught a 100 pound salmon, so, when I say this was a very large brown bear you can be assured I am telling the truth. In the Spring in this province it is wise to make noise if you are walking along the trails and we felt inclined to take along a Tupperware container from the car from our picnic lunch. My friend made lots of noise and I just tried to look big while our hearts were shrinking and the bear went up the embankment. You have never seen 2 old ladies run so fast in your entire life...faster than a speeding bullet, able to reach tall buildings at a single bound.... only to find that when we reached the road the bear was then following us. We ran some more. Now my friend does marathons and me..............NOT SO MUCH.

The good thing is that we saw a bear. The bad thing is he was blocking our path and we could see his breath. The good thing is he wasn't behind us on the path thus blocking our exit (escape route). The good thing is that he was a brown bear and not a black or a grizzly bear who can be much more aggressive. I have never gotten it quite straight on whether you are supposed to make yourself look as large as possible or to "play dead" since it depends on the type of bear (the problem is I always get conflicting reports as well). The bad thing is he wasn't a rare kermode bear for whom I would have stopped to take a photo.  Bad thing is I can't run fast enough!!!!Good thing is we're still here to tell the tale. The bad thing is we had to wait until we reached the city to go to the washroom:D  The good thing is that in Salmon Arm the Grebes are there for a week which are waterfowl who put on quite the mating dance that matched our "potty" dance. For those of you who are my age you will understand:D

So in a few moments I will be out walking with my poles. That is also a good thing.

So in keeping with this whole active and healthy lifestyle thing a few days ago I tried a recipe from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa herself. I replaced the green beans or haricots vert with seasonal asparagus, but basically didn't change a thing. This is a recipe that we always enjoy eating al fresco and tend to make often once the scorchingly hot weather arrives. It is also perfect for picnics. The recipe asks you to bake the salmon but you could just as easily grill it for amazing results.

 Living in a semi dessert area we do need this rain but if it could stay sunny for today that would be a good thing. I am headed out the door now.....where's those poles...ahhh yes....still in the car after all the excitement. Some things never change.

Addendum: Before I move on to the recipe I received an e-mail with some sad news this morning. Please take a moment to visit Maria's blog The Goddess's Kitchen, She was a dear friend of one of our own Rosie (Jules) of Baking Cakes Galore, you may also remember her as Rosie Bakes a "Peace" of Cake and Sweet and Simple Bakes. The blogging world has lost a kindred spirit and a true friend.

**Roasted Salmon Nicoise Platter**
recipe by Ina Garten

4 lemons, zested and juiced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
4 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 pounds skin-on fresh salmon fillets
3 pounds small Yukon gold potatoes
1 1/2 pounds haricots verts, stems removed ( I used asparagus)
3 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges (6 small tomatoes)
12 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut in 1/2
1 bunch watercress or arugula
1/2 pound large green olives, pitted
1 can anchovies, optional


1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good olive oil

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

For the marinade, whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, mustard, garlic, 1 1/2 tablespoons salt and 1/2 tablespoon pepper in a small bowl and set aside.

Place the salmon on a sheet pan that has been covered in aluminum foil, and drizzle the marinade over the salmon. Allow the salmon to sit for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the potatoes and 2 tablespoons salt in a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then place the colander with the potatoes over the empty pot off the heat and cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel. Leave the potatoes to steam for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender but firm. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice them in thick slices and set aside.

Place the salmon in the oven and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until it is almost cooked through. Remove to a plate and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Remove the skin and break into large pieces.

Blanch the haricots verts in a large pot of boiling salted water for 1 1/2 minutes only. Drain immediately and immerse in a bowl of ice water. Drain again and set aside.

For the vinaigrette, combine the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Set aside.

Arrange the salmon, potatoes, haricots verts, tomatoes, eggs, watercress, olives and anchovies, if used, on a large flat platter. Drizzle some vinaigrette over the fish and vegetables and serve the rest in a pitcher on the side.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips


  1. That looks great, I love the barefoot contessa.

    Peace, Love and Chocolate

  2. Oh my! That sounds scary! Good that all ended well... I would never go into the woods again...

  3. Hi Valli

    Unfortunately I have some sad news about Rosie from Baking Cakes Galore, Rosie passed away yesterday. I have written up a tribute to her on my blog and I am asking everyone who knew her if they would please take some time to leave a comment. I will be printing off all the comments to pass onto her husband.


  4. A lovely hike, minus the part with the bear ;-P! I also have to move more... At least, our woods are less scary!



  5. Yikes! Let me say that I would NOT have made it into town for that "potty" stop! Yes, please, get out there and run, don't walk, until you are faster than any bear your might chance upon.

    Thanks for the delicious reminder that summer is coming (isn't it?).


  6. Oh, my, what an adventure! I'd be walking in the mall after that -- and that's really 'old lady'! :) Kudos to you for picking up the poles again...but be careful!

  7. Val, I would probably have wey myself after that! My hunter hubby said to tell you that brown bears can be quite aggressive- be very careful! We had an "incident" with one at our home in NY- very scary!
    That recipe looks wonderful and being an asparagus lover, I'll probably follow your lead!
    xoxo Pattie

  8. I've wondered what I would do in a situation like yours with the bear. I know I wouldn't run nearly fast enough. Yikes.

    Beautiful salad, Val. That is is healthy too is an added bonus.

  9. Every time I come to your web site I leave feeling hungry! This salmon nicoise salad looks SO delicious!

  10. Yikes! We wear bear bells when we are in bear country. Usually if they hear you they'll stay away. Most bears can outrun you and will chase if you start to run. Regardless of their color these guys are all wild animals and will attack on a dime. I'm so glad you are OK and enjoyed the day with your good friend. Hugs and blessings...Mary

  11. What a tale to tell! It had me laughing, AND holding my breath in fear for you. Isn't it amazing how adrenalin kicks in and moves us way faster than we think we can go?

    As for the Salade Nicoise- It's one of my favorite dishes and The Barefoot Contessa does a great job of it.

    BTW - too bad or maybe not - that yo didn't have your walking poles with you.

  12. Oh Gadfry! In Alaska, MotherGoose Lake, we would sing to the bears and bang sticks ... the song?
    Bear Bear go away
    Bear Bear we'll be gone tomorrow
    silly but it was noise.
    Love the salad.

  13. Bear bells are definitely recommended, singing also classifies as a noise, and I did have my walking poles which look a little flimsy to me right now.

  14. Oh wow Val! So many things going on on your blog now. First, let me tell you I love the new design. It looks so professional! And did you really see a bear? I don't think we have them here in Ohio, and I'd be so scared if I came across one, but the experiences would be amazing. I love the recipe, too. It looks so healthy and delicious, just the kind I've been trying to eat lately.

  15. I have seen many a bear in my lifetime Ben and it is always a thrill..but far better from the safety of your vehicle.

  16. What a great story -- because it has a happy ending and you both got back to safety. We don't have brown bears here in Rhode Island, but I've seen them when traveling up north. Big and scary.

  17. Holy S**T, you faced a bear? I would have needed a change of slacks and then a whiskey!

    Next time, get the bear to catch some salmon for you to make many, many Nicoise salads.

  18. Geez Val, this is some adventure you had......I am glad you survived to make this delightful salad!!

  19. I've never crossed paths with a bear. Yikes! Glad you are okay! Your salmon platter looks delicious!

  20. how exciting! i've heard, of course, that you needn't outrun the bear...just your hiking partner. :)
    glad ya'll survived!

  21. OMG a bear - Scary!! Fantastic recipe.

  22. That salad has everything a healthy, flavorful, light lunch/dinner needs! Great dish.

  23. This looks amazingly delicious! I've never added the baked salmon but will definitely do it now! Love your blog!

  24. AnonymousMay 21, 2010

    Wow, what an adventure! The salmon
    nicoise platter looks fabulous!

  25. Perfect for spring, fresh and inviting!

  26. I really enjoyed reading your post and I'm glad the bear left you both alone. I like the that you used asparagus. It's terrific with salmon.

  27. All my favourite ingredients, on a plate. Lovely post: thank you.

  28. Crazy as it sounds I would love to see a bear(from a far distance of course)in amongst all that beautiful scenery you have!


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