Growing up in southern West Virginia, Logan County and a little magical town called Man, we had salmon at some meals, but only salmon from a can. Yes, Mom would make the most divine salmon patties. Not often. On special occasions. I suppose salmon in a can was really pricey even back then, and that determined how often we ate it. So, when I make this Mediterranean salmon salad, it sweeps me back to days growing up and watching Mom open those cans of salmon, draining (and reserving) the liquid, then using a big bowl to mix together all the ingredients. Patting out those patties ever so perfectly then gingerly placing them in hot oil in the well-used cast iron skillet where the pan sear would lock in those luscious flavors and then placing them on a draining rack. Yes, this was her system of execution. It was precise.
Mom’s salmon patties were always full of great flavors, and I remember the extra crunch on the outside, then tender flakes of salmon on the inside, made me want to take yet one more bite. Getting fresh fish wasn’t easy in our Appalachian mountains and hollers. While we had a river, the Guyandotte, a tributary of the Ohio River, that snaked through six counties in Southern West Virginia, the wildlife was annihilated in the river because of the waste dumped into it by the coal companies. I remember that river as being black, yes, black as coal. And, it was unfit for human contact. But, I do remember as a kid, stepping my feet into these ebony waters on hot summer days. The 1960s began the turnaround and clean up of sorts. It went throught the 1970s and with new state and federal guidelines, the dumping and discharge of waste from the coal industry changed the look of the Guyandotte.
Not until later in my adult life did I have ‘real’ salmon, as in a salmon filet. And, I was introduced to fresh fish and seafood when I moved from West Virginia to South Carolina as a young bride just starting a teaching career and life in the Lowcountry. The Lowcountry was uniquely different with food and cooking. Shrimp, clams, mussels, flounder, spot, drum, trout and more. And, yes, I was able to get salmon, real salmon, and not from a can. Thank goodness for these markets and grocery stores and for being able to afford to buy salmon! I deeply thank Mom for introducing me to this healthy and delicious fish. Yes, thinking back now, she was mighty ‘progressive’ in food preparation, new flavors and ingredients. Even if it was from a can.
This Mediterranean salmon salad is choked full of healthy flavors and lots of textures that make it most scrumptious. I can honestly say that I can probably eat this entire amount in this recipe within two days. Yes, it’s that good. Of course, if you’re not a salmon lover, then never mind, you’re not going to get the ‘high’ that I do. But, if you are, then get ready rocket off to happy land! xoxox ~ally