Salmon, Avocado, and Grapefruit Verrines (Savory Parfaits)

I can see how canned fish gets a bad rap. Tuna straight from the can just doesn’t do it for me–and until recently I thought the only cure was adding mayo, salt, and pepper. Canned mackerel tends to hang out on our shelves for a while, and I’ve never even seen an open can of sardines.

Enter canned salmon. I started eating it about two weeks ago after I learned a few things: it’s wild-caught, which is better for us and better for the environment. It’s also cheap, for salmon, and delicious! (I could go on about the nutritional benefits, too.)

Your first foray into eating canned salmon definitely takes some courage. The skin and bones are usually in the can, so the squeamish may struggle. It turns out that the canning process softens the bones enough that they’re safe to eat straight out of the can, and they offer a great source of calcium. Just close your eyes, pretend they aren’t there and stir up as usual. Eventually you’ll feel like a pro when you toss the spines in without a thought.

This recipe is adapted from one I found in the Boston Globe’s online archives. A “verrine” is essentially a layered sweet or savory dish in a small glass, sort of like a parfait. Apparently I am waay behind the verrine trend–but I’m pretty sure I’m about to start this trend in my own kitchen!

The original recipe is for Crab and Avocado Verrines, but I wanted to incorporate canned salmon. I also went a little heavier on the flavor components–the lime juice, the salt, the pepper.

I find if you add your spices in layers and taste as you go, you’ll always use more than a typical recipe calls for. Thanks go to my roommate/former professional cook/resident Southerner/best friend Mike (who should be introduced by now), who taught me that food is actually…wait for it…supposed to taste GREAT, ALL the time! I used to think the things I made were bland because I made them at home, but it turns out I just needed more salt and pepper. Get brave with those pinching fingers!

See the picture of the avocado above? That’s what it should look like when you dice it–just cut carefully while holding the avocado half in one hand, then use a spoon to scoop the pieces into the bowl and voila! Easiest method ever.

Finally, the original recipe used these ingredient amounts to make four appetizers. I used larger glasses than technical “verrines” (usually small juice glasses), so I only made two servings and ate them as smallish meals.

Salmon, Avocado, and Grapefruit Verrines
Adapted from Beatrice Peltre’s Crab and Avocado Verrine

*I also just discovered via Google that Beatrice is also La Tartine Gourmand. Her blog is full of beautiful photos and fantastic recipes (including a different verrine from two weeks ago). Check it out!

1 grapefruit
1 medium avocado
2 scallions, chopped (reserve 1 Tbsp white ends)
Grated rind, fresh juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 Tbsp olive oil
7 oz. canned salmon (half of a standard can)
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, plus some for garnish

1. Supreme the grapefruit. [These are good directions if you’ve never done it before: How to Supreme (Segment) an Orange.]

2. Split the avocado in half and remove the pit. Dice the flesh and drop into a medium-sized bowl. Add the scallions, lime rind, 2 Tbsp of the olive oil, and salt and pepper. Lightly toss. Be sure to taste while adding your salt and pepper.

3. In another medium-sized bowl, combine the salmon, lime juice, ginger, chopped cilantro, the white ends of the scallions, 1 Tbsp of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Use half of the salmon mix to fill the bottom layer of the glasses (so you should have half left after making this layer). Repeat with the avocado mix, then the rest of the salmon, and finally the rest of the avocado. Top with slices of grapefruit and garnish with cilantro. You can eat immediately, but it’s best refrigerated for at least an hour.


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