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Herb-Buttermilk-Marinated Salmon with Cucumber Salad

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Serves twenty-four.

  • Make the menu:
    Open House for a Crowd
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 96

The salmon is delicious either warm or at room temperature.

For the salmon
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions (about 6 medium scallions)
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. honey
  • 1 Tbs. ground ginger
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 sides of salmon (3 lb. each), skin and pin bones removed
For the cucumber salad:
  • 3 large English cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise, seeded, and sliced crosswise (about 9-1/2 cups)
  • 1 large red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, cut in half
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Marinate and roast the salmon:

In a food processor, combine the buttermilk, basil, cilantro, scallions, vinegar, honey, ginger, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Set aside 3/4 cup for the salad.

Thirty minutes before roasting the salmon, pour the remaining marinade over the salmon in a large rimmed dish and let sit at room temperature. (For the best texture, don't marinate longer than 30 minutes.)

While the salmon is marinating, position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. When ready to roast the salmon, remove it from the marinade and set on the baking sheet. Bake until just firm to the touch and opaque in the center (use a paring knife to peek), 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest in the pan for 10 minutes.

Make the salad:

In a medium bowl, mix the cucumbers, onion, olives, cheese, and 1-1/2 tsp. salt. Toss with the reserved buttermilk dressing and season to taste with more salt and pepper.

Serve:

Use two large spatulas to carefully move the salmon to a platter. Spoon some of the cucumber salad around the salmon and serve the rest in a bowl on the side.

Make Ahead Tips

Prep the cucumber salad up to 3 hours ahead, but do not add the salt or dressing until just before serving.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 230; Fat (g): fat g 7; Fat Calories (kcal): 60; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 1; Protein (g): protein g 27; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 4; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 340; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 80; Fiber (g): fiber g 0;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Made for 25 people to rave reviews! A friend who frequently eats fish in restaurants said it was the best salmon he had eaten in years. Super easy and really tasty, and I didn't have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen while my guests were here (made the marinade ahead, chopped the cucumbers and left them to drain, and enjoyed the party.) An hour before serving I poured the marinade over the fish and combined the salad ingredients and went back to the party with the timer set for 1/2 hour, then moved the fish to the cooking pan, put it in the oven and set the timer again. A delicious and easy way to have fun at your own party and feed a lot of people without compromising taste or nutrition LOVE IT!

Great Salmon for hot summer day...good for company and easy to do ahead

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