Poached Halibut Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette ~ the simple idea of poached fish with fresh salad greens is the perfect way to get a spring-ish vibe going in your kitchen ~ it’s healthy, gluten free, dairy free, low carb, Paleo, Whole 30 and delicious!
I know a lot of you do the whole healthy eating thing in January, and I get that. But for me I always make my move in February. It’s got to do with these weird bio-rhythms in Southern California. Winter, which was never really here to begin with, fades away in January and spring muscles in pretty aggressively by February. I’m gonna miss being cozy, but I’m going with it ~ the space heater’s in the closet, the polar fleece sheet too (omg have you guys tried those???)
And it’s all ok because I can have masses of baby lettuce, radishes with their leafy tops still attached, snippets of herbs, and tart citrus vinaigrettes. A milky white nugget of poached halibut or cod in one corner makes my fantasy bowl a little more February friendly.
I’m a salad lover but a lazy cook by nature, so triple washed greens have revolutionized my life. If somebody else is willing to do all that washing and drying, then I could eat this way every day. I’ll happily swipe a tiny beet across my mandoline, snip a couple of herbs, and watch my halibut simmer for a few minutes in exchange for a salad like this.
TIP: Sprinkle your salads with a few edible blossoms for a big impact. A few common ones include pansies, marigolds, roses, violets, and geraniums.
Ingredients for halibut salad
This salad has very few ingredients, but they’re carefully chosen ~
- halibut ~ I chose halibut because it’s a mild firm fish that comes in thick fillets, perfect for poaching. Try cod, mahi mahi, fresh tuna, or salmon. I leave the decision open until I get to the fish counter and see what looks good and what’s on sale.
- baby arugula ~ love this because it has an assertive peppery flavor and doesn’t wilt too easily. Also try baby spinach or baby kale.
- baby mache
- baby golden beet
- finely sliced shallot ~ every salad needs a little bite from the onion family. Substitute green or red onion.
- edible blossoms ~ for the sheer pleasure.
- Meyer lemon vinaigrette ~ Meyers have a slightly sweeter, slightly orange flavor, so add a touch of fresh squeezed orange juice to regular lemons to approximate the flavor.
This poached halibut salad fits into all the popular diets, Weight Watchers, Whole 30, Paleo, gluten free, etc., but that’s not why I love it. I love it because it’s clean and satisfying. So the next time you feel like fish, think about putting it on a salad for a change. I’m a big believer in main course salads of all kinds. They’re so useful if you’re trying to eat healthier with less calories and carbs. I’ve got everything from an loaded CHOPPED SALAD, to everybody’s favorite STEAK SALAD, and the best CHINESE CHICKEN SALAD around.
Ingredient spotlight: Mache
I love mache, (rhymes with posh) sometimes called lamb’s lettuce, it’s the prettiest little spring green that brings some variety to my salad bowl. It reminds me a little bit of watercress, because it grows in little clusters, and you eat the whole thing, stem and all. It’s got a gentle crunch and a sweet flavor.
Mache is one of the oldest cultivated greens on earth, originally from France. It’s making a comeback these days, and we grow it here in California, the salad bowl of America.
Because this is a delicate baby green, you’re most likely to find it in a plastic tub in your produce aisle, already washed and ready to go ~ keep an eye out for it! (Like I always say, ask your produce manager if you don’t find it.)
Substitute baby gem lettuce, microgreens, or spring mix.
Poached Halibut Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
- pansies or other edible flower
- Bring a saucepan of well salted water, deep enough to cover the fish, to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and gently place the fish in the pan. Let them simmer for 5 minutes, or until opaque throughout. Turn off the heat, cover, and set aside while you assemble the salad.
- Add a base of greens to two bowls. Add the rest of the ingredients over top. When ready to eat, place the fish in the bowl, to one side. Give the salads a few grinds of fresh pepper, and, if you’re using the edible flowers, garnish at the last minute.
- Whisk together the dressing and add more lemon if you like it more tart. Serve the dressing on the side for drizzling.
- For a vegetarian salad replace the fish with a nice piece of burrata cheese.
- Any type of fish, poached, grilled, pan fried, whatever, works with this salad. Grilled shrimp or pan seared scallops would be great too.
- I made my dressing a simple vinaigrette, but for a creamier dressing, add a teaspoon of honey, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, and shake it up vigorously until it emulsifies. Adjust the lemon to your taste.
- You can always make a quick 30 SECOND TARTAR SAUCE to go with your halibut.