Pure Michigan. Pure Yummy.

Ah Michigan. I love everything about it – the quaint lake towns, Traverse City, Trattoria Stella, amazing wineries, B&B’s, even its ad campaign. There are exactly two ad campaigns that can capture my attention and transport my mind and Michigan is at the top of that list. Any season, any medium – radio, billboard, television – and I’m mentally planning my next trip. (The other is Corona. I relax just seeing those commercials!) But back to Michigan. It’s been one of our favorite weekend getaway destinations whether for a romantic getaway or a family trip to a beach house; and then there’s the winery hopping, apple picking, fall drives and pumpkin farms.

I could really go on and on, but let’s get to the food. This week we obviously picked Michigan for our state night dinner which meant that cherries had to be the star of the meal. Afterall, Michigan is home to the National Cherry Festival. We also wanted to make something healthy since we’re still recovering from our soul food dinner, and we wanted to use ingredients we had on hand. The result – a Salmon Spinach Salad with Cherry Sauce. 

We started with about three cups of pitted cherries.

Next we chopped up some shallots.

We then added both to a large sauce pan with…wait for it…

white cooking wine, red cooking wine, water, honey, garlic, brown sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and red pepper flakes. Trust us.

We brought the combination to a boil, reduced the heat and simmered the sauce until it thickened, about 30 minutes. In the meantime, dad grilled some salmon fillets and I tossed some baby spinach onto the plates. We topped the spinach with the salmon, the cherry sauce, chopped walnuts and goat cheese.

It was fabulous! Dad and I both gave the salad 4 spoons. Mr. N and Miss A were less impressed, but still ate the meal without too many complaints. So they turned in a 2 spoon vote.

I don’t blame them. It’s really not a kid’s meal so-to-speak, but we’re winning them over with the salmon. A few months ago, they wouldn’t have touched it. It is, however, a great grown-up meal. It’s fresh, healthy and bursting with flavor. We’re putting this one in our regular rotation.

Print this recipe: Salmon Spinach Salad with Cherry Sauce

And now for a little fun. Which commercial relaxes you more?

29 thoughts on “Pure Michigan. Pure Yummy.

  1. Caroline says:

    Mmm this cherry sauce looks fantastic! Tempted to fly to Michigan just for the festival. I’m sure I could convince my friend, who is from there, to take a trip. 🙂

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    • ChefMom says:

      I’ve never been to the festival either, but would love to go one of these days. It just sounds delicious! And Traverse City is a great foodie town. 🙂

      Like

  2. Amy says:

    That looks wonderful! I’m going to try to be nicer to my brother and sister-in-law so that maybe I can get invited over to dinner sometime. Speaking of that, maybe we could pick a time on a weekend for Miss A and/or Mr. N to come over and play with Miss K. ChefMom and ChefDad could come, too, or just leave the little ones, if you want a break?

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    • ChefMom says:

      I had never had cherries with salmon either, but we knew we wanted something healthy and I had both salmon and chicken breasts on hand. I’m so glad we picked the salmon!

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  3. Sue says:

    Tim Allen could probably talk me into anything. Great post… The meal sounds delicious and it brought back great memories.

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  4. Lisa {Smart Food and Fit} says:

    I have to say this is my favorite post and not because I’m from MIchigan! I love cherries and can you believe I’ve never been to the cherry fest! I love up North Michigan, so beautiful. Unfortunately my husband never wants to go take the kids there, for some reason he hates vacationing in our state and he was born and raised in MI! I can’t wait until my little guy is older so I can take the boys myself to see the sand dunes. Anyhow, enough of me ranting about my hubby, I never thought to put cherries with salmon and now you got my curiosity going on the taste. I have some salmon in my freezer and just might try this tonight for dinner! 🙂

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    • ChefMom says:

      LOL. It is kind of hard to vacation in your own state sometimes, but if you get a chance to get the kids to the dunes they would love it! Mike and I were there last summer and did a hike. It’s so beautiful! We were hoping to get the kids up there this summer, but we may have to push it to the fall or next year. I love Michigan in general, but the lake shore is my favorite. 🙂 You’ll have to let me know if you try it with your salmon. We just loved it! And I just happen to have some cod, so maybe we’ll try your recipe. 🙂

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  5. sallybr says:

    I KNEW it was going to be a recipe with cherries!
    You know, my husband is from MIchigan (grew up in Lansing), and I’ve been to Traverse City a couple of times, such a beautiful place! And the white sand dunes, the Sleeping Bear dunes, unforgettable!

    I can see why the kids would give the recipe only two spoons – it’s a grown up concoction all the way….

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    • ChefMom says:

      It just has to be doesn’t it?! 😉 Isn’t Traverse City wonderful! Mike and I went up there last summer for our anniversary and had such a great time – so many wineries, great restaurants, the lake, the dunes. Amazing! We’re hoping to get the kids up there one of these days.

      You know it’s funny the kids actually like all of the ingredients on their own, but it’s just together that they were a little less than excited. I count it a win if they eat it though (even if complaining!). 🙂 If they really didn’t like it, they would just outright refuse it and ask for a breakfast bar or cereal. LOL!

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  6. Mary says:

    I’ve never been to Michigan but it looks wonderful. I’t so great that your kids will eat salmon!! good for you that you expose them too great food and they like it
    Mary

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    • ChefMom says:

      It’s a process. We started with tilapia and then moved on to cod. I’ve tried salmon with them before, but they always refused. It actually wasn’t until a trip to Costco a few months ago that they started to eat it after getting a sample they liked. LOL! I stood there watching them in disbelief and asked them if they knew what they were eating. Mr. N just said, “Huh. I guess I like salmon.” I made salmon at home the next night while the sample was still fresh in their minds and it seems they do like it. Everything is better as a sample I guess!

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  7. Charles says:

    What a curious combination – cherries with salmon. I expect the tang of the cherries provides a nice background to the salad. I love the look of the goats cheese – looks like a great salad!

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  8. Kay aka Babygirl says:

    I LOVE salmon with salad but I never thought of adding cherries to my salad before. I will definitely have to read this recipe and give it a try.. especially for lunch. I love a light but hearty lunch and this seems like the perfect choice. Love it.

    Like

    • ChefMom says:

      This would be a great hearty lunch! I just never seem to have the motivation to actually cook for lunch. LOL. Have a great afternoon and you’ll have to let us know what you think if you try it. 🙂

      Like

    • ChefMom says:

      You and me both! I’m soooooo ready for summer weather, summer foods, summer activities. I just hope it’s here to stay. This hot/cold, sunny/rain thing is getting old fast.

      Like

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