Salmon with Pickled Strawberries


In July of 2020, my husband and I visited Glacier National Park in Montana. It was a dream trip that we considered cancelling because of the international pandemic. Cancelling would have involved losing money, but mostly, after not leaving the house for months, we just wanted and needed to get to Montana.

We stayed at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake, in Whitefish, Montana. Because of the pandemic, our hotel experience wasn’t what we had anticipated, but we understood the issues with which the hotel dealt. On our first night at the hotel, we ate dinner at the hotel’s “fancier” restaurant, called the Boat Bar.

I ordered a salmon dish. It was described as “House-smoked salt-cured seared salmon over kohlrabi purée, charred asparagus, beets, fava beans, and pickled strawberry vinaigrette” on the menu, photographed below.

The combination of flavors and textures were so good, that on our last night in Montana we ate at the same restaurant and I ordered this same dish. That is not like me!

I have never seen fresh fava beans where I live, so earlier this year, my girlfriend with a greenhouse started some for me! It was so exciting!

Following is more of a guide I used in my attempt to recreate this meal. I couldn’t find kohlrabi, so I subbed potatoes.

Salmon with Pickled Strawberries, Roasted Asparagus, Beets, Fava Beans, over a Potato Puree, and a Creamy Strawberry Vinaigrette
Serves 2

For  the  Fava  Beans: Strip open the pods and remove the beans. Place them in boiling salted water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and cool with ice water. Gently pinch off the peel.

For  the  Potato  Purée: Boil 2 peeled and chopped russet potatoes until tender, put them through a ricer, then add heavy cream until soft.

For  the  Salmon: Heat a little butter in a medium skillet, add 2 uniform thickness salmon filets, seasoned with salt and white pepper, and sautéed them until just cooked.

For  the  Beets: Because these weren’t treated any special way, I simply used canned beets, although at the store I could only find them already sliced. I cut them into little cubes as best I could, and placed them on paper towels to dry.

For  the  Asparagus: Slice about a dozen asparagus into small, uniform pieces, using mostly the tip end halves. Toss the pieces with salted olive oil, and roast them at 400 degrees until obvious browning appears.

For  the  Pickled  Strawberries: Slice about 6 large strawberries crosswise, place them in a jar, add 2 teaspoons of sugar and cover them completely with red wine vinegar. Shake gently and let the jar sit in the refrigerator overnight. Before using, remove them from the vinegar and let them sit on paper towels to dry.

For  the  Strawberry  Vinaigrette: Drain the pickled strawberries and reserved the vinegar in a small blender jar. Add about half of the pickled strawberries to the vinegar. Add olive oil, mayonnaise, about 1 teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of salt. Blend until smooth and taste.

I included some sunflower greens, and fresh flowers to use for the presentation.

To put it all together, make sure all of the elements are warm. Spread some potato purée on each plate (I made two servings) and top with the salmon.

Add the roasted asparagus, poached fava beans, beet cubes, and pickled strawberry slices.

Sprinkle the salmon with some flaked salt, if desired, and top with some microgreens of choice.

Taste the vinaigrette for flavor and seasoning before you use it. You don’t want it tart, but also not sweet. Serve extra on the side.

The vinaigrette is really good on the asparagus, beets, and favas. And I really enjoyed the backdrop of the potato purée.

And if you ever have a chance to see Glacier National Park and other parts of Montana, do go! Such spectacular scenery!

63 thoughts on “Salmon with Pickled Strawberries

  1. Thanks for sharing this delicious menu. Strawberries are just coming in. I am fascinated about pickling them. How long did you leave them in the refrigerator?

    • Only overnight. I wanted them to stay red. When I’ve made strawberry vinegar and strawberry vodka before, which takes maybe 2 weeks, the strawberries basically turn white!

  2. This is definitely a 5-star-restaurant Niveau! I like the idea of using pickled strawberries to garnish the dish. Very unique and delicious as well. The Glacier National Park looks so beautiful.

    • Thanks. I thought it was fabulous and I don’t think I’ve ever ordered the same thing twice at a restaurant! the park is magnificent.

    • Awesome is an understatement. It was so good I had to order it a second time. Mine was slightly different because is simply sautéed the salmon, but all the flavors together were just outstanding.

  3. Wow, this look fantastic! I’ve never made pickled strawberries before but I love that idea–and love using them for the vinaigrette as well. Great job recreating a fantastic restaurant meal!

  4. I have so many comments to make, and I apologize if I miss any! 1. I am so glad you got to go and enjoy Glacier! My wife and I got engaged on Grinnell, so it is an incredibly deeply special place for me. 1.b. I love your Glacier pictures. 2. I would have never thought to pickle strawberries or serve that with salmon…such a great recreation, and thank you for sharing!

    • We have wanted to go for so long. We were supposed to go with our daughter and fiancée, but they were trapped in England. It was a tough decision to go, but so glad we made that decision. Stayed safe, and mostly were outside, as you know. What a great place to get engaged! I was really impressed at the quality of the food at this restaurant, and also at other restaurants in Whitefish. Thanks for your comment!

  5. How lovely to get away to such a beautiful place for some rest and relaxation. And what a fabulous meal to discover. I can understand ordering it twice!!
    Have never pickled strawberries but it does sound rather special – will certainly try that one.
    Another lovely recipe Mimi. :)))

    • Thank you Mary! If you really knew me you’d be so shocked that I’d not only go to the same restaurant twice, but also order the same meal! But that’s how good it was! And the restaurant was at the hotel where we stayed and it was the easiest choice for the first and last nights’ dining. A really fun dish!

    • Well I’ve never seen fava beans locally, so I had to grow them. I wanted to include all elements of this dish because it was so spectacular! It was a perfect getaway, because except for dining, we were in the wilderness most hours of each day, free of worry!

    • That’s exactly what made this dish so spectacular. And just enough vinegar for some zing – you still taste the strawberry sweetness!

  6. Wow, those photos of Montana are stunning! That’s a place that we have yet to visit, but it needs to go on the list. As far as this recipe, though, it sounds fantastic! I love the layers of flavor, and the pickled strawberries are certainly unique. I can see why you went back for this dish again!

    • It’s unheard of for me to go to the same restaurant twice! But since it was at the lodge, it was the easiest for our first and last nights’ meals. I would go again and have this salmon again! And yes, get to Montana!

  7. Montana is on our “must see” places once we could fly again. Beautiful indeed ! Your dish is amazing as well and we must try it with all the strawberries around us over here.

  8. I haven’t been to Glacier since I was a teenager! I’d love to see its beauty again! I have made salmon with strawberries, but your whole plate of deliciousness is calling my name! You wear your chef’s hat well!!!

    • It’s so beautiful – I’m glad we chose to not cancel. The whole salmon dish was incredible. I would have never thought to combine strawberries in any form with salmon! I hope you know chef Mimi is just a nickname my sister gave me years ago!

  9. Fresh fava beans are really nice if you remove the pellicle like you did, but it is a lot of work and you will need a lot of pods to end up with a little. The strawberry vinaigrette sounds intriguing. You could substitute kohlrabi with rutabaga or turnips, if you can get any of those. They are all related.

    • I read that something like 1 1/2 pounds of fava bean pods end up being 1 cup ! Crazy! But fortunately I didn’t need many. I personally liked the potato purée underneath everything else because it basically had no flavor.

  10. You’re so fortunate to be able to travel, we are STILL in lockdown and it’s been brutal so I can just imagine what a lovely change Montana was. What a memorable meal with so many components, you must have really loved it. It does look spectacular.

    • Yes, I’m so glad we didn’t cancel, even though the trip was planned with younger daughter and fiancé, and they ended up being “trapped” in England. Glacier National Park has been on our list forever, and it’s beautiful. And all of the local fish was fabulous! We caught delicious trout.

  11. Mimi, it’s so great you took that trip! We only got as far as Lake Arrowhead (less than a 2 hr drive) during the pandemic, and it was well worth it. Your trip to Montana looks spectacular — talk about getting away!
    I’ve always wanted to pickle berries and never have. This has inspired me to do it. Can’t wait — and of course I’ll serve them with the salmon. What a great blend of flavors and textures, as you said. :-) ~Valentina

    • Just a quick pickle overnight, but make sure to include some sugar, otherwise I imagine the sweetness won’t shine and you’d just taste vinegar. You’re so lucky you’re in California. So much beauty there.

  12. Mimi, how gorgeous! The food, the plating, the photos! If I ever go there, that’s the dish for me! I’ve never had pickled strawberries, they look and sound delicious! What an awesome trip, too! Sorry it had to be during pandemic. But glad you went!

    • I’m so glad we didn’t cancel. It was risky because two weeks later I was scheduled for my second thumb surgery, which I really needed. With corona, of course, it would have been canceled. Of course, it wasn’t an urban vacation, with 90% of the time in the wilderness or on a lake. But people weren’t wearing masks as they should have been, as mandated, and that was worrisome.

  13. Beautiful Montana! Truly beautiful salmon! I’m also struck by how regional food can be (as it should be I suppose) because I consider favas as strictly seasonal in California. But kohlrabi is one of those things that you know, if you just can’t find anything else at the farmers market at least they’ll have kohlrabi (and I prefer potatoes). GREG

    • We were too easy for huckleberries, but we did have huckleberry vodka and jam! I prefer potatoes as well…

  14. Gosh Mimi, well done, super – I prefer your rendition to the original (though obviously have not tasted either, duh). I don’t like kohlrabi much in any case and super-adore mashed potatoes. I’d never heard of pickled strawberries, what a great idea. Thank you so much for this recipe!

    • I think I did prefer the potatoes, even though they are a minor part of the dish. The pickled strawberries were incredibly good! It was just so perfect.

  15. Such wonderful flavors and textures, Mimi! The pickled strawberries are so intriguing. I have to try it!

    • The whole dish was just incredible. I had to try it at home! The strawberries are really incredible pickled.

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