Lucky for us, Daniel Vanh, a Japanese food expert and chef, has agreed to share his tangy and refreshing Yuzu Salmon Salad recipe for the first time. This light and colorful dish features a line-up of simple, fresh ingredients, such as Granny Smith apples and goat cheese. Packed with flavor, the recipe is easy to prep and doesn’t require you to turn on the oven — a double win.
Who is Daniel Vanh?
As a South Florida native, Vanh found his passion for cooking at a young age. His parents owned a restaurant, which ignited a serious curiosity and love for food. He started as a busser at a local Japanese establishment and steadily worked his way up to the sushi bar. While he went on to study business management at Florida International University, he quickly returned to the food industry after graduation, recognizing his unwavering dedication to food and cooking.
By working at various Miami-area Japanese restaurants, he eventually met the renowned chef, Shuji Hiyakawa — and now the rest is history. Currently, Vanh is a head sushi chef at Hiyakawa’s flagship restaurant, Wabi Sabi by Shuji.
Wait! What exactly is yuzu?
Great question! Yuzu is a delicious treat to cook with. It’s said to have originated as a hybrid between mandarin oranges and ichang papeda, another citrus fruit found in Asia. Although yuzu is considered a fruit, it is rarely eaten as such. Similar to lemons, yuzu is used for its tart and citrusy elements that enhance the flavor when cooking. They’re also known to add an extra layer of freshness when used a final touch or garnish. This extremely versatile fruit lends itself is the star ingredient of many sauces and vinegar.
Along with its refreshing taste, yuzu is packed with a series of health benefits. It contains antioxidants, vitamin C, and the flavonoid naringenin, which is linked to improved brain function, including memory. Though yuzu is small in size, this mighty fruit offers major health rewards — which is just another reason why this recipe is an absolute favorite.
If you have a mandolin, cut the cucumbers into thin slices. If you don’t, cut the cucumbers into two-inch pieces. Then, soak fully in ice water.
Create apple strips with the Granny Smith apples, either using a mandolin or regular chopping. Then, soak fully in ice water.
Slice salmon into sashimi pieces. Cut against the grain, creating about 2.5-inch-long slices. The thinner the slices, the better. Cutting against the grain ensures the fish doesn’t fall apart while slicing. It also creates more evenly fibrous slices, whereas cutting with the grain would create an unequal amount of fiber and toughness on each slice.
Toss the arugula with the yuzu juice. Make sure to toss it well, so the yuzu clings to the arugula for a refreshing tick. Add salt to the toss.
Assemble the salad with the all the ingredients. Add goat cheese, pine nuts, chilled cucumber, and Granny Smith apples. Then add the salmon.
Top it off with a touch of olive oil and freshly ground black pepper. Add additional salt, if desired, or some lime zest to pull the whole dish together. Served as an appetizer or main dish, this yuzu salmon salad is a delight for any meal.