This healthy and filling smoked salmon salad will quickly become your favorite quick lunch or weeknight dinner. Made with fresh lettuce and green onions, smoked salmon, creamy crème fraîche, and flavorful asparagus, this salad is easy enough for an every day meal but also elegant enough for a party.
How to Prepare Asparagus for a Salad
I’m asparagus crazy right now. It’s probably my favorite spring vegetable because it’s so versatile and flavorful.
It also goes great with salmon, which is why I decided to put it in this smoked salmon salad. I don’t really like raw asparagus that much though, so I prefer to blanch it before putting it in a salad.
Blanching is a culinary term for boiling something (usually vegetables) for a short period of time before transferring it to an ice bath. The ice bath stops the cooking process leaving the veggies crunchy and vibrant.
Since I cut my asparagus before putting it in the boiling water, it only takes 30 seconds for it cook. Easy, right?
What is the Best Type of Salmon to Use for This Smoked Salmon Salad?
As much as I love the thinly sliced salmon that you normally use to top bagels (also known as lox), it won’t work that well in this salad.
Instead I used smoked salmon fillets. As the name implies, they come in large, meaty pieces that you have to break down with your fingers to put in/on salads.
I prefer to use this type of salmon because it keeps its shape better and stands up well to the bold flavor of the asparagus.
What is Crème Fraîche?
Crème fraîche is a delicious French invention that is similar to sour cream.
Unlike sour cream which is made by adding lactic acid to cream or milk, crème fraîche is made by fermenting cream.
This process makes it less tangy and a tad more sweet than sour cream. I’ve seen crème fraîche described as richer and thicker than sour cream, but I disagree. I find crème fraîche to be lighter than sour cream, which is why it goes so well with smoked salmon.
To clarify: crème fraîche does have a higher fat content than sour cream but this doesn’t necessarily translate into heaviness.
If you can’t find crème fraîche where you live, it’s really easy to make at home. Here is a super easy crème fraîche making tutorial.
Smoked Salmon Salad with Asparagus & Crème Fraîche
- 5 large asparagus spears trimmed and chopped into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 pound smoked salmon fillets
- 1/2 cup green onion chopped
- 3 tbsp crème fraîche
- 2 tsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 5 oz lettuce greens
- pickeld peppers (optional)
- kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
To blanch the asparagus
- Fill a small, heavy-bottomed pot about halfway with water. Bring to a boil.
- Fill a medium bowl with water and ice. Set aside.
- Add the cut asparagus to the boiling water, and cook for 30 seconds.
- Drain the asparagus and transfer it to the bowl with the water and ice. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the salad. The asparagus can be blanched the day before.
To make the salad
- Put the crème fraîche, lemon juice, and green onion in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Using your hands, flake the smoked salmon fillets into the same bowl.
- Dry the asparagus and add it to the bowl. Mix all of the ingredients together until well combined.
- Taste and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add the lettuce greens to a large bowl. Toss with a bit of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Divide among 4 plates.
- Top the lettuce with a few scoops of the smoked salmon salad and some pickled peppers (if using). Serve immediately.
- This recipe is adapted from Bon Appétit's Lemony Smoked Trout Tartine.
- This salad can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to three days.
- I don't recommend using thinly-sliced smoked salmon (or lox) for this recipe. See comments above regarding why.
Here are other easy salad recipes:
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