Grilled Salmon and Asparagus Salad with Lemon Dill Dressing

Grilled Salmon and Asparagus Salad with Lemon Dill Dressing
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About This Recipe

In the heart of California's wine country, where the rolling hills of Napa and Sonoma valleys nurture a rich tapestry of vineyards and a vibrant culinary scene, a dish has emerged that perfectly encapsulates the essence of this bountiful region. The Grilled Salmon and Asparagus Salad with Lemon Dill Dressing is more than just a meal; it's a celebration of the fresh, local produce and the artisanal spirit that defines the area.

Crafted with the finest ingredients, this dish begins with succulent salmon fillets, sourced from the cold, clean waters of the Pacific. The salmon is paired with crisp, tender asparagus, a herald of spring in Northern California. Together, they are grilled to perfection, bringing out a smoky depth that complements the freshness of the vegetables. The salad is then dressed in a zesty Lemon Dill Dressing, made with extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and aromatic dill, all ingredients that speak to the Mediterranean influences that have shaped Napa's culinary landscape.

But what truly sets this dish apart is its connection to the wine country's terroir. The Lemon Dill Dressing, with its bright acidity and herbal notes, is designed to mirror the characteristics of the region's celebrated white wines. This intentional pairing underscores the harmonious relationship between the food and the wines of Napa and Sonoma, a testament to the area's dedication to culinary excellence.

For those seeking to experience the full spectrum of flavors this dish has to offer, a visit to local wineries and grocers is a must. Napa Valley's Oxbow Public Market, with its array of local produce and artisanal products, provides the perfect starting point to gather ingredients. Meanwhile, Sonoma's Fisherman's Market offers the freshest catch for the salmon component of the salad.

Pairing this dish with the right wine elevates it from a simple meal to a gastronomic experience. A crisp, aromatic Sauvignon Blanc, such as those found at Frog's Leap Winery in Rutherford, matches the salad's acidity and complements the green notes of the asparagus. Alternatively, a floral Viognier from Darioush Winery in Napa can highlight the salmon's richness without overwhelming the dish's delicate balance.

This Grilled Salmon and Asparagus Salad with Lemon Dill Dressing is more than just a recipe; it's a window into the soul of wine country cuisine. It exemplifies the simplicity, elegance, and harmony that Napa and Sonoma are known for, offering a taste of the region's culinary heritage and its ongoing dialogue with the land. Whether enjoyed on a sun-dappled terrace overlooking the vineyards or at a cozy dining table at home, this dish brings the best of California's wine country to your plate, making every bite a journey through the flavors and stories of this extraordinary region.

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Salmon

Salmon, the star of our Grilled Salmon and Asparagus Salad, is not just a delicious choice for a myriad of dishes; it's also packed with omega-3 fatty acids, making it a heart-healthy option. This versatile fish, particularly when sourced from the cold, clean waters of the Pacific, brings a richness and depth of flavor that is both distinct and subtle. Its ability to take on the smoky notes of grilling while retaining its moist, tender texture makes it an ideal candidate for our featured dish. Beyond its health benefits and culinary versatility, salmon's sustainability, especially when chosen from responsible fisheries, aligns with the eco-conscious ethos of Napa Valley's food scene.

How To Grill Salmon Perfectly

  1. Preheat the Grill: Ensure your grill is preheated to a medium-high heat. A hot grill surface prevents sticking and achieves those desirable grill marks.
  2. Prepare the Salmon: Brush each salmon fillet with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. This not only adds flavor but also helps in creating a crisp exterior.
  3. Skin-Side Down First: Place the salmon skin-side down on the grill. This method protects the delicate flesh from the direct heat, allowing it to cook evenly.
  4. Flip Carefully: After 5 minutes, gently flip the salmon over to finish cooking. This ensures a beautifully grilled surface on both sides.
  5. Check for Doneness: The salmon is ready when it flakes easily with a fork but is still moist inside. Avoid overcooking to maintain its tender texture.


  1. Can I use frozen salmon for this recipe? Yes, frozen salmon works well. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before grilling to ensure even cooking.
  2. What are good substitutions for asparagus? Green beans or snap peas make great alternatives, offering a similar crunch and flavor profile.
  3. Is there a dairy-free substitute for feta cheese? For a dairy-free option, try crumbled tofu or a dairy-free cheese alternative that crumbles well.
  4. How should I store leftovers? Store leftover grilled salmon and asparagus separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat gently to avoid drying out.
  5. I'm allergic to garlic. Can I omit it from the dressing? Absolutely. For an alternative, add a pinch of mustard or extra herbs to compensate for the flavor.

Tips for Success

  1. Marinate for Extra Flavor: Though not required, marinating the salmon for 30 minutes in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs can infuse additional flavors.
  2. Room Temperature Salmon: Let the salmon sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before grilling. This helps in cooking the fish more evenly.
  3. Dressing First: Prepare the Lemon Dill Dressing ahead of time. This allows the flavors to meld together, creating a more cohesive and flavorful dressing.

By incorporating these insights into your cooking process, you're not only setting the stage for a delightful meal but also embracing the culinary practices that make Napa Valley's cuisine so unique and beloved.

Recipe Overview

Grilled Salmon and Asparagus Salad with Lemon Dill Dressing
Lily Anderson
4 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


  • 4 salmon fillets (6 oz each)
  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Mixed greens (about 8 cups)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Lemon Dill Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Brush the salmon fillets and asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Grill the salmon, skin-side down, for about 5 minutes. Turn and grill for another 3-4 minutes or until desired doneness. Grill the asparagus alongside, turning occasionally, until tender and charred, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the Lemon Dill Dressing: extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, fresh dill, minced garlic, honey, and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Arrange the mixed greens on plates. Top with grilled asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and red onion slices.
  5. Place a grilled salmon fillet on each salad. Drizzle with Lemon Dill Dressing and sprinkle with feta cheese before serving.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

Get ready to experience the rich flavors and unique culinary delights that embody the essence of wine country living. Happy cooking!

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