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Wild Salmon Quenelles with Herb Salad and Horseradish Vinaigrette

Servings: 8

In this take on gefilte fish, subbing salmon for the usual carp or whitefish makes a traditionally demanding preparation far more approachable. Served with a light herb salad and a pretty vinaigrette that plays on the standard horseradish garnish, the quenelles become a dressy lead-in to the main course. To save time, look for pre-cooked beets in the produce section.


For the quenelles

  • 1-1/2 lb. sockeye salmon, skinned, pin bones removed, and cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 4 oz. cold-smoked salmon, cut into strips
  • 3 Tbs. matzo meal
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped shallot
  • 1 Tbs. nonpareil capers, drained and chopped
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh dill
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the broth

  • 3 qt. cold water
  • 1 medium red onion (about 8 oz.), peeled and quartered
  • 3 medium carrots (about 4 oz. each), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 ribs celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Handful fresh parsley stems
  • Handful fresh dill stems

For the salad

  • 4 oz. cooked beets, coarsely chopped
  • 3 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. prepared horseradish; more to taste
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, picked into small sprigs (4 loosely packed cups)
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, stemmed and torn into pieces (1-1/2 loosely packed cups)
  • 1 cup fresh dill sprigs


Make the quenelles

  • In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Transfer to a food processor and pulse 6 to 8 times so the salmon is coarsely chopped. Don’t overchop or the texture will be spongy.
  • Using a 2-oz. scoop (or large spoon) and damp hands, gently form the salmon into 16 ovular shapes; each should weigh about 2 oz. Set on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour to set.

Make the broth and poach the quenelles

  • Put the water, onion, carrots, celery, parsley, and dill in a large 8-qt. pot, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Gently drop in the salmon quenelles, and cook, flipping after a couple of minutes, until firm but still a little translucent in the center when you make a nick into a thicker piece, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to large plate. Gently pat dry with paper towels. Cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days before serving.

Make the vinaigrette

  • Puree the beets, vinegar, horseradish, honey, and mustard in a blender. With the blender on, drizzle in the oil in a thin steady stream until smooth and emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper (about 1/2 tsp. each). Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days before serving.
  • To serve, in a large bowl, toss the arugula and herbs with enough vinaigrette to lightly coat. Set 2 of the salmon quenelles on each of 8 salad plates. Top with a mound of the herb salad and drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette.


• The quenelles may be poached up to 2 days ahead.
• The vinaigrette may be made up to 2 days ahead.


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