Smoked salmon and avocado are two of my absolute favorite foods in the whole world. I don’t want anything to overpower their natural flavors, so I usually end up eating them pretty naked.
My top ways to eat smoked salmon are:
- With cream cheese, capers, and tomatoes on an everything bagel
- Straight from the package with my fingers
I admit feel a little uncivilized doing it. Which is a shame, because cold-smoked salmon seems like it should be a pretty sophisticated ingredient.
And while I tend to be a little more lenient in the versatility of my avocados, putting slices on burgers or sandwiches or in salads, with even the occasional guacamole, the most common way I eat it is:
- Cut in half
- Sprinkle cut half with lemon pepper
- Eat with spoon straight from the skin
So yeah, not very cultured.
Today I’ve gone to quite the other end of the spectrum with an unquestionably elegant alternative to eating salmon with your fingers off the foiled cardboard insert.
I’ve been brainstorming ways to eat smoked salmon, besides my go-tos, that don’t involve smothering it in other flavors, or worse, cooking it. I’ve got a few other ideas up my sleeve, but here’s one way you can still enjoy your pure, unadulterated ingredients, but class it up a bit.
You can’t NOT feel elegant if you’re eating this beautiful smoked salmon, tomato, and avocado rose salad.
This salad leaves the star ingredients untouched so you can enjoy their pure, natural taste instead of smothering them in other flavors. They’re topped only with a squeeze of lemon so they taste bright and fresh.
I put the roses on top of a bed of sweet, tender butter lettuce, lightly dressed with my favorite simple lemon vinaigrette, and topped with thin slices of tomato. It’s more of a palate cleanser than a competing flavor, and leaves the quality of each ingredient unhindered.
It tastes just as good as eating the salmon straight from the package and avocado from the skin, but makes me feel more like a countess enjoying lunch in the garden than a ruffian scavenging scraps from leftover bits of paper.
Which do you want to be today?
This salad is inspired by a video on Back to Her Roots‘ Facebook page for how to make an avocado rose. Once I realized you can also make a tomato rose and a salmon rose, I knew I had to give it a try!
Okay, let me break it down for you:
How to make an avocado rose
Begin with a ripe but firm avocado. Cut your avocado in half and remove the pit.
Then score the skin down the middle on each half of the avocado, trying not to cut into the avocado itself. Peel off each half of the skin.
Thinly slice each avocado half horizontally all the way down. Then, spread out the slices into a long, thin line of overlapping pieces.
Roll into a spiral. You can also squeeze a little lemon juice on top to keep it fresh looking while you prepare the rest of your meal.
How to make a tomato rose
Begin by cutting across the bottom of the tomato to make a small circle, but don’t cut all the way through. This will be the base of the rose when you’re finished.
Instead of finishing the cut across, begin cutting a long strip out of the tomato skin. Continue cutting the skin into a spiral all the way around the tomato, maintaining a relatively even width at the beginning but narrowing the width as you finish.
Don’t worry, it’s easier than it sounds. It kind of naturally gets narrower on its own when you reach the stem end.
Keep the knife blade close to the skin — a thinner strip is easier to curl — but be careful not to cut through the skin. You need one long continuous piece for this. A sharp knife is very important. Really, a paring knife would be better, but my steak knives happen to be sharper, so that takes priority.
Begin curling the narrow end into a spiral. It will naturally form sort of a pyramid, but contrary to what you might think the narrow end of the pyramid is the top – the petals will fan out as you continue to spiral, but the middle should be more closed like a rosebud.
When you get to the end, it will naturally sit on the cut end of the base you left for it. The base keeps it from unraveling.
Keep the peeled tomato for the rest of the salad.
How to make a smoked salmon rose
This one’s easy.
Take two strips of cold-smoked salmon and overlap them slightly to make one long strip. Then roll it up from the end, loosely. You can adjust the outer “petals” with your hands since salmon is pretty flexible.
For mini roses, cut one strip in half lengthwise and roll up. The cut edge should be the bottom of the rose since it’s not as clean of an edge.
My 3.5 oz. package of salmon contained five strips, so I made two large roses from the first four pieces (two strips each) and two mini roses from the last strip, cut in half.
Once you’ve made all your edible roses, you can put them on a lightly dressed bed of greens like I’ve done for a light lunch or an elegant appetizer, or use them to make pretty much the fanciest version of avocado toast ever. I think it would be great with a little ricotta or cream cheese underneath.
It’s way easier than it looks and takes hardly any time! You can blow away your guests with this impressive starter!
C’mon, countess, what are you waiting for?
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Smoked Salmon, Tomato, and Avocado Rose Salad
- 1 medium avocado ripe but firm
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 3.5- oz package smoked Nova salmon
- 2 handfuls butter lettuce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp juice from a lemon plus more for squeezing on top
- Fresh whole basil leaves for garnish optional
Make two avocado roses, two tomato roses, and two large and two small salmon roses, using directions above. Set aside remaining peeled tomatoes.
In a large bowl, drizzle olive oil over lettuce and sprinkle on salt and garlic powder. Toss to combine. Add 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice and toss again.
Divide greens between two salad plates. Thinly slice peeled tomatoes leftover from tomato roses and arrange on top of the lettuce.
Arrange one avocado rose, one tomato rose, and one large and one small salmon rose on top of each plate. Slide fresh basil leaves under roses to look like flower leaves, if desired.
Squeeze a little additional lemon juice over top of the roses, and garnish plates with slices of fresh lemon from the un-squeezed half.