Mustard Marinated Wild Alaskan Salmon and Avocado Salad with Watercress

Salmon and Avocado

Marinated Wild Alaskan Salmon and Avocado Salad with Watercress. That name’s quite a mouthful and I should know because I ate way more than a mouthful. From the first luscious bite of California Avocado, all the way to the last nip of heat from whole mustard seeds. I have to admit I impressed myself with this recipe. But like so many of my favorite meals, it started without a recipe. I tinkered around with a few simple ingredients and this is what I came up with.

There was a day in my life when I would tinker a recipe, serve it up and say goodbye to it. Not just because it was a success and every bite of it was finished, but because there was no making it again– ever.

Sure I could approximate what I did, but something always seemed off on the second try. So that poor recipe went away never to see the light of blog. There were some goodies too. But I figure if I can’t reproduce it myself, how will I ever get someone else to get the results I enjoyed. So, like I said, many favorites are lost forever.

However, I’ve been writing a blog for almost 8 years and have two cookbooks. These activities cause you to develop some odd behavior. Starting with muttering. I mutter as I cook in an attempt to find the recipe’s “voice” (I know, I know). I pull out my chef’s knife much as I ever did, but now it’s accompanied by an iPad. Which sits next to my cutting board so I can notate everything I do.

In some ways I admit it’s taken a bit of the joy out of cooking. But overall it’s made me a better cook because it’s easier to notice patterns. I never realized how much I relied on vinegar for example. Even in recipes you’d never quite think needed vinegar. But there’s that notation. So many times it just has to strike you – “a splash of red wine vinegar” or “one teaspoon sherry vinegar”. The crazy thing is sometimes it’s the barest amount of vinegar, say 1/4 teaspoon (or less). I guess I’m an acid freak.

Wine Pairing

Bründlmayer Grüner Veltliner ‘Kamptaler Terrassen’ 

Bründlmayer Grüner Veltliner ‘Kamptaler Terrassen’
This crisp white wine from Austria exemplifies why Grüner Veltliners pair well with most salads. In general, “Gru-Vee’s” high acid content is friendly to the sharpness found in most vinaigrette dressings, and they often possess an herbal quality that complements salad greens. In particular, this wine’s white pepper element, a hallmark characteristic of most Grüner Veltliners, […]
Greg Henry

Price $20

Pairs well with asparagus, cheese, fish, pork, shellfish, sushi and veal

Salmon and Avocado Salad

Of course, this Marinated Wild Alaskan Salmon and Avocado Salad with Watercress recipe is not such an example. It needs a big healthy glub-glub of cider vinegar. The fish here is marinated (“cooked” I like to say) in a mustard vinaigrette, which actually changes the texture of raw salmon into something very silky and luxurious. Even if raw fish makes you a bit queasy I think you’ll like this salad. Besides, there are big meaty balls of ripe avocado, as well as the peppery bite of watercress. Something for everybody I guess. Including a very nice wine pairing from my brother Grant– Bründlmayer Grüner Veltliner “Kamptaler Terrassen”. I should know because my notes clearly indicate that I added something for everybody to this one. GREG

Brundlmayer Kamptaler Terrassen Gruner Veltliner

Marinated Wild Alaskan Salmon and Avocado Salad with Watercress

Marinated Wild Alaskan Salmon and Avocado Salad with Watercress 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4Published


  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ cup canola oil (or other mild flavored oil)
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pinch each kosher salt & black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 pound wild alaskan salmon cut into 1‑inch cubes
  • 3 hass avocados
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 2 cup loosely packed trimmed watercress
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
  • 2 teaspoon minced chives
  • 1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds, or to taste


In a large bowl whisk together the apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, and garlic together until well incorporated. Mix the oils together in a small pitcher. Pour the oils into the vinegar mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until fully emulsified. You may alternatively shake the ingredients together in a covered jar and pour the emulsified vinaigrette into the large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the salmon cubes into the large bowl with the mustard vinaigrette. Toss to thoroughly coat the fish; cover and refrigerate 4 to 8 hours. During this time roll the fish around in the bowl once in a while to assure even marination.

Just before serving. Slice the avocados in half and remove the pits. Use a 1‑inch melon baller to make as many nicely formed balls as possible, placing them in a medium bowl as you work. Pour the lemon juice over them to keep them from discoloring. Toss gently to combine.

Plate each salad individually by dividing the watercress and cilantro evenly between four salad plates. Drain the salmon and avocado, discarding the liquids. Divide the salmon and avocado between the plates. The liquid that clings to them should be enough dressing, but a plain vinaigrette could be added if you wish. Garnish each with whole mustard seeds and minced chives. Season to taste with more salt and pepper if you like.