Pan Seared Salmon with Dijon Crème Fraiche and Lentil Frisée Salad

Yield: 4 servings

Lentils:

1 cup beluga lentils, rinsed well and drained

3 cups vegetable stock

1 dried bay leaf

5 sprigs fresh thyme

Mix the lentils with the stock, bay leaf, and thyme in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring the saucepan to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for approximately 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are cooked through but not mushy. Drain. Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf.

Vinaigrette:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoon red wine or sherry vinegar

⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

In a small container with a tight fitting lid, combine the vinaigrette ingredients, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a small bowl.

Salad:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced small (⅔ cup)

2 medium carrots, peeled and grated (1 cup)

4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced (1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) 

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh mint

1 small head frisée, rinsed and dried, chopped or torn into bite-size pieces (2 cups)

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Add the olive oil, onions and carrots to a medium sate pan over medium-low. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the garlic and cumin and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

In a large bowl, combine the contents of the sauté pan along with the lentils.

Grab the vinaigrette and give one more good shake or whisk, then pour it over the warm salad and gently mix with a large spoon.

Fold in the parsley, mint and frisée. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Salmon:

1 pound salmon fillet, 1½ inches thick, skin on, cut into 4 equal pieces

1 tablespoon lemon zest (zest of 3 lemons), grated on a Microplane

2 teaspoons roughly chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon unsalted butter

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Pat the salmon dry, then pat the non-skin side with the lemon zest and chopped thyme, season lightly with salt and pepper, and allow the salmon to sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Heat a large sauté pan over high heat until hot; add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the butter to the sauté pan. The butter will bubble up, turn brown and perhaps even smoke. Swirl the sauté pan to distribute, then add the salmon, skin side up.

Cook for 1 minute, flip to skin side down and continue cooking for 30 seconds.

Cover the sauté pan and immediately push the sauté pan off the heat. Turn off the heat and allow the salmon to rest undisturbed for 15 minutes.

Dijon Crème Fraîche:

1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard

¼ cup crème fraîche

Place the mustard and crème fraîche in a small bowl and stir until combined.

Serve salmon topped with a dollop of Dijon crème fraîche and on a bed of the lentil frisee salad.

Note: I recommend preparing this recipe in the following way in order to maximize your time. Cook lentils first. While lentils are cooking, make the vinaigrette, followed by the Dijon crème fraiche. Start the salmon and then work on the salad. And, as always, mise out/prep your ingredients first!

Coconut Lemongrass Wild Salmon

coconut-lemongrass-wild-salmon-73-web

Coconut Lemongrass Wild Salmon

Enjoy this recipe recently featured in Clean Eating Magazine! Photo by Ronald Tsang.

Yield: 4 servings

 

1 large shallot, peeled and diced small (3 tablespoons)

6 3-inch pieces lemongrass, bruised with the back of a knife

1 large 3-inch piece of fresh ginger (3-ounces), peeled and cut into 1/8-inch slices

3 medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed with the back of a knife

2 large makrut lime leaves, ribs removed

1 small Thai chili, cut in half widthwise

1 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk (not lite, no guar gum)

1 cup water

1 cup low sodium chicken stock

4 ounces grape tomatoes, halved (approximately 25 grape tomatoes)

½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste

1¾ pound head cauliflower, core and leaves discarded, cut into bite-sized florets

8 ounces baby bok choy, cleaned and quartered

1¼ pound skin-on wild sockeye salmon, 1-inch thick, pin bones removed and cut into 4 equal sized pieces *

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

 

In a large pot (which fits a steamer basket), add the shallot, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, lime leaves, chili, coconut milk, water, chicken stock, grape tomatoes and ¼ teaspoon salt.

Insert steamer basket. Add cauliflower in an even layer to basket.

Cover with a lid. Turn heat to high and set a timer for 25 minutes.

Once you see steam, reduce heat to medium-low.

After 25 minutes, remove the insert (careful, hot!) and transfer to a plate. (Heat is still set to medium-low.) Add the bok choy evenly atop the cauliflower. On top of the bok choy, add the salmon pieces, evenly spaced, skin side down. Season the salmon with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper.

Re-insert the steamer basket, cover with a lid and set a timer for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, your salmon should be opaque and lighter in color. Turn off the heat.

Remove steam basket and place on plate again. Add the lime juice to the steaming liquid, stir and season to taste with salt as needed. Strain liquid, pressing on the solids with the back of a spoon to get all the delicious broth!

To serve, place some cauliflower and bok choy in the center of a shallow bowl. Remove skin if you prefer and place salmon filet on top of the steamed vegetables. Spoon over ¼ cup of the broth per bowl.

*Salmon note * If your salmon has a slight fishy smell to it – not a problem, give it a quick rinse in cold water and pat it dry.

Salmon Burgers with Homemade Tartar Sauce

Wild Alaskan salmon is in season! So, next time you purchase some salmon at your local grocery store or fish market, how about making my salmon burgers? They are easy to make and have a nice crispy outside on account of the panko. Mmmmmm.  Plus, the homemade tartar sauce is a delicious treat in and of itself! Sea for yourself! (Bonus: it’s a sustainable seafood dish!)

 

Salmon Burger Panko

Salmon burger in panko before cooking

Salmon Burger with Homemade Tartar Sauce

 

 

Salmon Burger with Homemade Tartar Sauce

Yield: 4 burgers

 

For the burger:

1 pound wild salmon filet, skin, bloodline and pinbones discarded, chopped finely

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons mayonnaise

1 ¼ cup panko bread crumbs, divided

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

 

Place the salmon, mustard, lemon juice, herbs, salt, pepper, mayonnaise and ¼ cup panko in a large bowl. Using a rubber spatula, fold until well combined.

Place 1 cup panko on a plate.

Form 4 equal sized patties, approximately 3-inches in diameter and 1-inch thick, and press bottom of patties into the panko to coat. Do the same to the opposite side, pressing each patty into the panko.

Place burgers on a parchment-lined tray or plate.

Place a large nonstick sauté pan over medium high heat and add the 1/3 cup olive oil. Let sit over medium-high heat for 1 minute, until the oil shimmers (hot!). Add the burgers and let cook on each side for 1 minute and 30 seconds. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.

Tartar Sauce:

¼ cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons cornichon, diced small

½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

½ teaspoon capers, rinsed and chopped roughly

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh dill

kosher salt, to taste

freshly ground pepper, to taste

 

Add all ingredients to a small bowl and mix to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

Burger Assembly:

Tartar sauce

Romaine or Butter Lettuce leaves

Toasted hamburger, optional

Place tartar sauce on bottom and top of hamburger buns and top with burger and lettuce. Alternately, you can eat your salmon burger in between lettuce leaves or on top of a bed of lettuce with tartar sauce drizzled overtop.

Size Doesn’t Matter

No matter how big or small it is, shopping at your local farmers market is one of the greatest experiences in life (and made even greater when paired with a double shot Latte).

Today, Super-sous and I went to one of our favorite local markets which consists of about 6 or 7 produce stands. It may be small (for California standards), but not having been to/shopped at a farmers market for the past 8 weeks, it was heaven, and we were able to stock up on some of the basics, to hold us over for the next few days.

I bought a beautiful 2 pound filet of line-caught Morro Bay salmon yesterday, so Super-sous and I are going to do some recipe creation which will involve some of the following ingredients (used over various dishes): dinosaur kale, fennel, peas, avocado, golden raisins, shallot, garlic, mint, thyme, rosemary, oregano, lemon and lemon zest, burrata cheese, goat cheese, and a lot of extra virgin olive oil.

With so many fresh, local ingredients, the kitchen is just begging for a piece of the action. Time to cook!

Cooking for Solutions

Yesterday and today I have been doing some recipe testing for the Cooking For Solutions event that happens every year at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Being a Sustainable Seafood Ambassador for the Monterey Bay Aquarium, I will be cooking and speaking for the event (Saturday and Sunday followed by book signings for my brand spanking new cookbook, with the addition of competing in an Iron Chef style event on Saturday!). I am creating two recipes: one for grilled Alaska Salmon and one for grilled Alaska Snow Crab.

With the rains rolling in today, I’m taking a bit of a backseat on the grilling, but I did manage to play around a bit with a salmon marinade that includes fresh dill, mint, garlic, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and olive oil served with a tzatziki sauce; a cajun-style spice rub salmon; and a salt, pepper, lemon zest, thyme rub with grilled lemon zest asparagus. All are something to build on.

But, what about the crab? Is there anything more delicious than crab with garlic butter? If so, please let me know because I have not been able to find anything that rivals it. I have tried several different dipping sauces as well as an appetizer with marinated candy striped beets, avocado, a dollop of creme fraiche and arugula micro greens.

I also tried a spicy tomato gazpacho with avocado, crab, and the arugula micro greens.

Both were… well, alright,but… hey, it’s no garlic butter.

So, what are your favorite flavor combinations using grilled salmon, or snow crab?

(Now, if only Latte paired well with crab….)