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Smoked Salmon Salad French Style

Salmon is used in many ways in many countries around the world. I was first introduced to a smoked salmon salad by a Russian friend; it was very tasty, with lots of fresh dill, but rather heavy on the mayonnaise. When we lived in Paris, France, we had many wonderful salads, including salmon, which is often called “Nordic salad”. In France, the “salade composee” (a salad composed on the plate) is very popular – that, with crusty French bread and a glass of wine, makes a perfect meal.

So, that is how I like to make a salad too. The recipe below is for a plate; just increase the amounts depending on how many people, and therefore how many plates, you have. It’s very simple to make, but delicious, and looks really beautiful – as do most French composed salads.

WHAT YOU NEED

* a large pretty plate for each person

* ground paprika

* a mixture of arugula (also known as roquette) and red-leaf lettuce, torn into pieces

* a medium tomato, cut into wedges

* 4-5 slices of cucumber, skin on

* 4-5 slices of smoked salmon (the thinly-sliced type)

* 8 green beans, cut in half and blanched in boiling water for two minutes, then plunged into cold water

* a hard-boiled egg, peeled and cut into quarters

* 6-8 black olives (I like pitted Kalamata olives)

* lemon wedges

* chopped fresh dill for garnishing, if available

* salad dressing: mix together 1 dessertspoon organic mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon olive oil, a half teaspoon prepared mustard (or to taste). The mixture will be fairly thick.

* freshly-ground black pepper

* a basket of sliced French Bread

TO COMPOSE THE SALAD

* sprinkle paprika around the outside rim of the plate

* make a bed of lettuce and arugula on the plate

* arrange tomato wedges and cucumber slices in an alternating pattern on the lettuce around the outside edge of the plate

* with a teaspoon, dab the salad dressing on the bed of lettuce and the tomato and cucumber

* arrange the salmon slices in a criss-cross pattern on the lettuce

* put the green beans on the center of the salmon slices

* arrange the 4 egg quarters on the edge of the salmon slices

* place black olives on top of the salmon, sprinkle with chopped dill (if using), and add a couple of lemon wedges

* grind a little black pepper over the top

This salad is perfect on a warm day, but is good on a cold day too. It makes a pretty winter holiday season dish because of the red and green colors. Enjoy with bread and chilled white wine (if you like wine).