Arugula, Smoked Trout, and Pumpkin Seed Salad

I was a vegetarian for a long time, so I’m still a bit tentative when it comes to cooking fish.  Thus, I’m a big fan of canned tuna fish–it’s easy, it’s cheap, and I can’t screw it up. However, it is full of mercury, which is really bad for you, of course (in fact, a lot of people say that if you’re of childbearing age, you should consider cutting it out, FYI, ladies). And a lot of times, it’s not very environmentally friendly–fishing methods used to catch it are often destructive, bigeye tuna is now overfished, and yellowfin, skipjack and albacore tunas are all in decline. So, when I saw a can of farm raised smoked trout at Trader Joe’s, I figured I’d try it out as a possible tuna substitute.

Oh man, is this stuff amazing… So while I try to not eat smoked fish more than a few times a month since they contain a lot of nitrites and nitrates, this tasty fish is now a mainstay in our house.

My favorite way to eat it is in salad, and so while you hardly need a recipe for it, here’s my favorite salad, featuring arugula, smoked trout, and toasted pumpkin seeds. Don’t avoid toasting the pumpkin seeds on the stove–it only takes a few moments and they are so, so good roasted in this way. In fact, they’re my secret salad weapon. So many meat eaters who have had a salad with these pumpkin seeds ask me if there is bacon in the salad. Personally I don’t think they taste like bacon (which I never have even liked anyway), but it is a testament to their awesomeness, as most people think bacon is delicious. They add a richness and yes, even meaty, quality to the salad that is really necessary, in my opinion. Okay, on to the recipe.

Arugula, Smoked Trout, and Pumpkin Seed Salad

  • a bunch or bag of arugula
  • 1/8 C. raw pumpkin seeds
  • can of smoked trout, drained of oil
  • 1 small tart apple, diced
  • handful of dried cranberries or cherries
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper
Add the pumpkin seeds to a skillet, and toast over medium high until they start popping, and are browned on all sides. Turn them off before they get too brown, as they will continue to cook off the flame. Cool on a plate. Flake the smoked trout with a fork. Add the arugula, trout, apple, feta, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds to a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and olive oil (to taste, but somewhere around 1 to 3 acid to oil) along with salt and pepper to a small bowl and whisk with a fork. Add the dressing to salad, toss, and enjoy!

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