Open-Faced Salmon BLT’s

It’s been a long time since I’ver posted, but trust that I’ve been both cooking and eating with my regular enthusiasm!  We recently went camping and were looking for something fresh and easy for dinner – who needs another hot dog on a stick, right?!  These open-faced salmon BLT’s were simple, delicious and easy to make with minimal mess.  Try them at home for a busy weeknight or as a wonderful weekend brunch.

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OPEN-FACED SALMON BLT’S

Ingredients

  • 1 Lbs. Fresh Salmon Filet
  • 4 Sliced Ciabatta Bread
  • 8 Slices Crisp Cooked Bacon
  • 2 Avocados
  • Juice of 1/2 Lime
  • Fresh Bibb Lettuce
  • 2 Ripe Tomatoes, Sliced
  • 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tbs. Water
  • 1 Tbs. Fresh Chives, Chopped
  • Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, dijon mustard, water, chives and a dash each of salt and pepper.  Stir until smooth and place in refrigerator.
  • Remove skin and pit from avocado.  Dice and place both avocados in a small bowl.  Add lime juice, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste.  Smash together with fork until mixture is slightly lumpy.  Cover and place in refrigerator.
  • Salt and pepper the salmon filet.  Grill or pan sear until cooked through – about 5-7 minutes per side depending on thickness.
  • Remove salmon from grill and let rest.  Place ciabatta on grill and toast both sides for 30-45 seconds until browned.  You can also use a toaster here.
  • To assemble sandwiches:  smear each piece of toasted bread with 1/4 of the avocado mixture.  Add two slices of bacon per piece, then layer with tomato, Bibb lettuce and 1/4 of cooked salmon.
  • Drizzle each sandwich with dijon/mayo mixture and serve immediately.

I hope you love this easy dish as much as we did!  It could easily be doubled or tripled for a larger group, but still doesn’t require a ton of work.  Whether outdoors on the grill or made in your kitchen, you’ll add this to your summer meal rotation for sure.  Dig in!

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Family-Style Cobb Salad

I love a great Cobb salad – the crunchy, soft, cold, salty combination of healthy food and various toppings that make it not-quite-so-good-for-you!  It’s a great idea for a summer dinner or on a buffet, especially this version.  Made in a big bowl or on a platter, it’s a beautiful display of color, flavor and texture.  The recipe below will easily feed four adults for dinner or 8 or more as a buffet side.

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FAMILY-STYLE COBB SALAD

Ingredients

  • 1 Head Iceberg Lettuce, Chopped
  • 2 Medium Tomatoes
  • 6 Chicken Tenderloins, Grilled
  • 8 Strips Crisp Bacon
  • 1 Avocado, Chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Finely Diced Red Onion
  • 2 Hard Boiled Eggs, Chopped
  • 6 Ounces Blue Cheese Crumbles

Instructions

  • On a large chilled platter, arrange chopped lettuce in a even layer.
  • Seed and dice tomatoes and arrange together on lettuce.  You can choose to arrange ingredients in groups, stripes, pie shapes or whatever you think looks prettiest.  It’s best to keep them together rather than mix them up though so they keep their texture until serving.
  • Dice grilled chicken and place on the lettuce.  Don’t forget to season your chicken before grilling!
  • Crumble the bacon and arrange on lettuce.  Do the same with avocado.
  • Arrange onion on lettuce.  Be sure that it is finely diced to provide just the right amount of bite in contrast to the richness of the avocado, blue cheese and egg.  Don’t leave it out!
  • Finally, finish by arranging the egg and blue cheese to complete your salad.
  • Place in refrigerator for up to 2 hours or serve immediately.

While this hardly requires anything else, serve it with your favorite salad dressing.  My wife likes ranch, but I enjoy the contract of a vinaigrette or Russian dressing as well.  Don’t like one or more of the ingredients?  Lots of substitutes work well – cubed ham, sweet peas, cheddar cheese, etc.  Just keep in mind the combination of flavor and texture and change out like-for-like.  Add a crusty loaf of bread and crisp white wine and you have a beautiful summer dinner.  Dig in!

Watermelon Salad

The typical watermelon salad is easy and delicious, but my wife doesn’t like tomatoes.  I know, it’s a crime against humanity!  I substitute peaches in this version for a great textural and flavor contrast.  Try this light flavorful salad for your next picnic or with a simple grilled dinner at home.

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WATERMELON SALAD

Ingredients

  • 1 Small Watermelon – About 4 Cups
  • 2 Peaches, Peeled & Diced
  • 4 Ounces Feta Cheese Crumbles
  • 2 Tbs Fresh Mint, Chopped

Instructions

  • Dice watermelon into 1-inch cubes and place into a large bowl.
  • Peel and dice peaches into 1/2-inch cubes and add to watermelon.
  • Sprinkle in feta and mint and stir mixture to combine.
  • Chill for 1 hour minimum and serve immediately.

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The perfect combination of sweet and crisp watermelon, soft and slightly tart peaches, salty feta and bright fresh mint make this an explosion of flavors!  Enjoy the taste of summer with this feast for the eyes and taste buds – dig in!!

Hop Nosh Tangerine IPA

The Great Salt Lake and Mormons aren’t the only things that put Salt Lake City on the map.  Uinta Brewing definitely puts a gold star on the city with a great variety of craft brews.  If you’re an IPA lover, you’ve probably had the Hop Nosh before.  However, the “cousin visiting for the summer” in the Hop Nosh family is Tangerine IPA.  Amber in color with a thick head, you want to pour this one in a glass to take full advantage of the aroma and flavor.  With the addition of tangerine, the beer has a light citrusy aroma and taste up front.  Don’t let that fool you though as this baby is still boozy at 7.3% ABV and plenty hoppy as well.  It’s kind of like a sweet kiss followed by a punch in the mouth with a bitter finish.  Man, do I love that scenario…for beer.

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You’re not going to sit down with a dozen of these, but two or three with a ribeye or smokey-sweet BBQ makes for a perfect summer dinner.  You’ll find at least some of these varieties available widely, check them out and sample a few.  You can learn more on their website at uintabrewing.com.  I’m a fan enough of this one to give a couple more from this brewer a try.  Pucker up and enjoy!!

Goose Island Four Star Pils

I’ve been broadening my horizons with lighter beers lately.  Be it this crazy warm summer or the fact that IPA’s give me heartburn now that I’m over 40, I have had a lot of great varieties of beer lately.  A great pilsner isn’t always easy to find so I was pretty excited to try the new Four Star Pils from Goose Island Brewery.  This golden brew is light, crisp and still taste like a real beer!  You can dress it up in a glass, but it’s perfect for shoving a six pack into a bucket of ice and spending an evening on the patio.  What I love is that they’ve used a combination of American and German hops to give it a depth of flavor beyond your typical pilsner.

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Try this great one with your favorite chicken or fish cooked on the grill.  I’ll wager that your favorite white wine drinker (AKA wife) will actually find this a great alternative to the vino.  I could go on and on about the other beers I love from Goose Island, but you can check out their website for the full list at gooseisland.com.  Crack open a little taste of Chicago and enjoy the last month of summer!