Salmon-Feta Salad: Introducing the Steve Lillywhite!

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before, but names of punk icons make for very good recipe titles.  I made this delicious salad on Friday, with smoked salmon, feta, Greek olives, cukes, shallots and lemon-olive oil dressing on a romaine “bed”, but I haven’t posted the recipe yet because I was stuck for a good title.  (And because the happy problem had an awesome gig in Santa Barbara Saturday night, might I add, which was great, but my computer and I were briefly separated.)  But now I proudly present to you: The Steve Lillywhite!

it's like a classic album in your MOUTH!

it's like a classic album in your MOUTH!

“Salmon Greek Salad?”  “Smoked Salmon-Feta Salad?”  None of them seemed quite right.  BUT THEN, back in Hollywood last night, walking from my parked car to my building with guitar bags, gear bags, merch bags, and toiletry bags hanging off my shoulders, and a Line 6 amp hanging from my right arm, I passed a red rental Toyota and who should be getting into it but Mr. Steve Lillywhite himself!  (I considered saying hello, but quickly took-in my bag lady appearance, and thought better of it.  You do not want to meet Steve Lillywhite when you look like a lost hippie from Venice Beach.  Just trust me on this one.)  So I let the man go, but at the same moment, quietly decided to name my latest salad creation after him in homage.  And WHO THE HELL IS STEVE LILLYWHITE?  You might well ask.  Well, he’s only the producer of classic albums by Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads, Psychedelic Furs, Siouxie and the Banshees, The Pogues, Simple Minds, Morrissey, Dave Matthews, Counting Crows, Crowded House, Matchbox 20, and there’s one more that I’m missing.  Who could it be?  Wait, it’ll come to me.  Oh yeah —


Oh yes, Mr. Steve Lillywhite, a medium-height, friendly-but-cynical, handsome blond man, seen just last night getting into a red Toyota, is the esteemed producer of such legendary albums as “No Line on the Horizon,” “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb,” “All That You Can’t Leave Behind,” “Boy,” “Under A Blood Red Sky,” “Joshua Tree” and more.  So how appropriate to honor such unmatched greatness with a new SALAD?  (Sorry, Mr. Lillywhite.)  Come with me…

Big knife
Drinking glass

Smoked salmon
Feta cheese
6 Greek (
calamata) olives, pitted
1/2 (small half) of a shallot
8-10 slices cucumber
Kosher salt/pepper
ish extra virgin olive oil
Teaspoon-ish lemon juice

Like many salads, this one is basically an assemblage more than a recipe.  Just grab about two handfuls of chopped romaine (see the
TIPS section on preppage and storage of your romaine), and spread them like a “bed” on your plate.  Then take about four big slices of smoked salmon and spread them like a lovely fan on the romaine.  This is the “lily” part of the Steve Lillywhite.

This is a very gentle salad.  That’s why I couldn’t call it a “Salmon Greek Salad” – I find Greek salads often involve big chunks of things, like tomato, feta, etc., and the Steve Lillywhite is all about delicacy, lightness, simplicity.  All things that Steve Lillywhite the person probably doesn’t embody, but too bad for him, this is his salad and he’s just gonna have to deal with it.

So now that you have your lovely romaine and your lovely salmon, take your big knife and thinly slice some cucumber – about 8-10 slices – and place them gingerly around your plate.  And here you are so far:

lovely, but not yet lively, eh?

lovely, but not yet lively, eh?

Now slice your 6 Greek olives twice each, into four long, slender pieces, and scatter them “like the dew” around your plate.  Lovely, lovely.  Light, light.  Take some feta cheese and crumble it in your fingers, dribbling the crumbles like snowflakes.  This is the “white” part of the Steve Lillywhite.

Now for your 1/2 shallot.  This is perhaps the harshest, most punk rock part of the Steve Lillywhite.  Because turns out, as sweet and harmless as sauteed shallots are, (like the ones in our Shallot We Broccoli? recipe), eaten raw, shallots are BALL-BUSTING people.  I had actually chosen shallots for this salad thinking they’d be more delicate than regular red onions (which are often too much for me), but I discovered that hell, they’re pretty close.  So take your shallot…

pretty purpleness with a punky POW

pretty purpleness with a punky POW

…and separate the two halves.

beauty and power... what more could you ask for?

beauty and power... what more could you ask for?

Then chop the SMALLER piece into little vertical “rods” and scatter onto the salad.  Believe me, it’ll be enough shallot for your palate.  (Oh, I slay myself.)  And now you are ready for dressing!

Just as I added lemon to a tub of pesto for the dressing on the Lemon-Pesto Pop Chop Salad, so now we add lemon juice to olive oil and that’s it for our Steve Lillywhite.  (Okay, and a little kosher salt and pepper.)  I was making this just for myself, so I only needed like a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of lemon juice and then a pinch each of salt and pepper.  I used a fork to get the juice out of the lemon and I mixed it all in the bottom of a regular drinking glass.  Before stirring them up, the oil and juice separated in the glass, lemon juice settling in a thin line on the bottom, like this:

like you don't know what oil and lemon juice in a glass look like.

like you don't know what oil and lemon juice in a glass look like.

But once stirred together and drizzled on our delish, colorful, salty and sweet smooth sexy smoked salmon salad, true punky paradise is found!  So do your drizzle, and then SERVE and ENJOY!

crank up the tunes, it's time to EAT!

crank up the tunes, it's time to EAT!

The other great thing about this grown-up, impressive punky salad is that it used many of the ingredients I had left over from other Punky Chef recipes in recent days.  The feta and Greek olives came from the Greek Nachos, the smoked salmon and cucumbers came from the Smoked Salmon Tarts, the shallots came from the Shallot We Broccoli?, and even the LEMON came from both the Smoked Salmon Tarts and the Lemon Pesto Pop Chop Salad!  So if you’ve been following your Punky Chef, you’ll notice all these ingredients falling together and gettin’ used up.  See?  That’s the Punky Chef way.  Because I’m a virgo and a huge Al Gore fan, and I can’t stand throwing out anything that could be recycled.  Plus, mi fridge es su fridge, so now you see what I have to work with.

So thank you, Mr. Lillywhite, for being such an important part of the world – and of my world of music.  As we chop, slice, drizzle, and Mmmmm, we will put on your CDs and sing aloud, “IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAAAAAAAAAAYYYY!”

(And hey Mr. Lillywhite, if you ever feel like checking-out my band, the happy problem, we’d honor you with more than just a salad.  Maybe we’d even name a dessert after you.)


4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    steve lillywhite said,

    i am honoured and deeply moved by your wonderful salad ! where did you see me ?


  2. 2

    Smoked salmon and feta? Yes. We could eat that just as it is.

  3. 3

    paul h said,

    i’ve known steve for years,
    and for the first half of our friendship
    i looked EXACTLY like ‘a lost hippie from Venice Beach’,
    so you definitely should’ve said hello

  4. 4

    punkychef said,

    HA! Okay, I’ll be braver next time… 🙂

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