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Monday, May 7, 2012

Wild and Crazy

Bon Appetit, May 2012
I don't know what's come over me, but lately I've been all about what's in season.  Maybe it's because the sun is shining.  Or maybe it's because I've been paying more attention to what's become easily available in the grocery story and at the farmer's market.  Who knows.  I'm not quibbling.

The net result of all this is that we are eating extremely well in our house.  I've been throwing ramps into everything and let me tell you, they up the volume of most any dish.  Morel mushrooms and peas are in season too. And so is wild salmon.

Years ago, I would order grilled salmon whenever I went to a restaurant.  I got into a salmon slump and I didn't eat it for years because I had gotten myself so sick of it.  But salmon is so good for you, and it gets so much positive press, that a couple of years ago I had to revisit the whole salmon thing.

What I realized is that salmon is, forget about tuna, the chicken of the sea.  You can do anything with it and it tastes good.  And, if you're lucky enough to happen upon wild salmon, which is in season right now, you're in for a treat.

This recipe for poached salmon showcases (do you like the use of the word showcase?) all kinds of ingredients that are delicious right now.  Peas, a most under appreciated veggie and morel mushrooms play a key role in this dish which just screams springtime.

While I am far from being a totally seasonal cook, I'm working on it.  This recipe is a step in the right direction.

Recipe:  Poached Wild Salmon with Peas and Morels
(Bon Appetit, May 2012)


2 6–8-ounce center-cut wild king salmon fillets (each about 1 1/2-inch thick)
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons kosher salt plus more for seasoning
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
4 ounces fresh morels; sliced, stemmed shiitake; or other mushrooms
1/2 cup shelled fresh (or frozen, thawed) peas
1/2 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives or 2 pea tendrils


Place salmon, skin side down, in a large high-sided skillet. Add wine, 2 Tbsp. salt, and cold water to cover salmon by 1/2". Cover pan and bring liquid to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, uncover, and gently poach salmon until just cooked through and barely opaque in the center, about 6 minutes, depending on thickness. Transfer salmon and 2 Tbsp. poaching liquid to a plate; tent loosely with foil.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup salmon poaching liquid and peas and simmer until peas begin to soften, 2–3 minutes. Add cream and bring sauce to a simmer. Cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Using a spatula, transfer salmon, skin side up, to paper towels. Gently peel off and discard skin. Invert salmon onto serving plates and spoon mushroom sauce over. Garnish with chives.

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