Arugula Smoked Salmon & Hazelnuts with Cherry Cider Dressing

Cider food pairings arugula

This salad was a collaboration of Olaiya Land and Sharon Campbell. Both agreed that the Cherry Cider and Salmon are a match and we thought arugula would work as the greens and that’s how we started. Cider reduction is something that I make frequently, but not with our Cherry Cider. Olaiya had this idea for the dressing and the cider became intense and rich. When the toasted coriander seeds were added to the cherry reduction and shallots it became marvelous. The dressing holds up perfectly to the strong flavors of salmon, hazelnuts and arugula, but it wasn’t until the creamy texture of the avocado was added that this salad became elegant.

Yield: 4 Servings

1 cup Cherry Cider

1 ½ tablespoons toasted whole coriander, toasted

2 tablespoons diced shallots

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

Sugar, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

4-6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 cups of arugula

1 cup very thinly sliced or shaved fennel

1 avocado cut into

1 inch chunks

¼ cup toasted, skinned hazelnuts, roughly chopped

6 ounces smoked salmon – either cold or hot smoked

Place the cherry cider in a small saucepan and reduce over medium-low heat to 1 tablespoon. Watch the pan closely in the last stages of reducing; when most of the liquid has evaporated, the cider can easily burn. Remove the cider from the heat, add the whole coriander seeds to soften them and set aside.

Cover the diced shallots with the sherry vinegar in a medium bowl. Add a generous pinch of sugar and salt and several grinds of black pepper. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow the shallots to mellow. Add the reduced cider and soaked coriander seeds to the shallots.

While whisking, add 4 tablespoons of the olive oil. Taste the vinaigrette. If your sherry vinegar is sharp, you may need to add a tablespoon or 2 more of the olive oil. Taste again and add more sugar, salt or pepper, to taste. Place the arugula, fennel, avocado and 3 tablespoons of the hazelnuts in a large bowl. Drizzle enough of the vinaigrette to just coat over the salad and toss to coat. Add more vinaigrette, if necessary.

Divide the salad among four plates. Top with the smoked salmon, sprinkle with remaining chopped nuts and a drizzle of vinaigrette. Serve immediately.