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Salmon with Mint Pesto and Lemon Broth

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I Forget where I found this recipe, but I've played with it for a long time. This is one of those "if I had a restaurant it would be on the menu" recipes. You can make most of the parts well ahead of time, so actual cooking involves searing the salmon and assembling the dish. A pesto is a nut and an herb, with garlic and oil; this uses frozen peas as the 'nut' and mint as the herb.

 

Ingredients

 

Lemon Broth

1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1/2 lemon, zested (use the lemon you’ll be juicing - so you only need one lemon total)
1 lemon, juiced
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves

 

Pea Pesto
1 cup frozen peas.
2 tbsp fresh mint leaves
1 clove garlic (I always use about 3, but I like garlic)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Salmon
2 tbsp olive oil
2 (6-8 ounce) salmon fillets
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
 

1/2 lb pasta of your choice. Orecchiette, rigatoni and penne would all work great. I love using the black-and-white bow ties striped with squid ink. 

 

Make the broth:

Warm the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Add the shallots and saute until tender, about 7 minutes.

Add the lemon juice, zest, and broth.

Bring to a simmer, and keep warm, covered, over low heat.

You can also easily make this ahead of time and just refrigerate until needed, then rewarm.

 

Make the pea pesto:

Combine the peas, mint, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor and puree.

With the machine running, add the olive oil in a steady drizzle. Note that there is no need to thaw the peas. You can do so, and you will get a smoother mix. I like the peas frozen so that the pesto is a bit chunky.

Transfer the pea puree to a small bowl and stir in the Parmesan. Set aside.

You will want to warm this before you put it on top of the salmon. Not hot, just warm. What I do is pop it in the microwave for about 20 seconds. When it’s all hot and summery out, I can see using this room temperature or slightly chilled. If you're going to reheat, don't put the cheese in until after, as it will get stringy.

 

Make the salmon:

Warm the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over high heat.

Season the salmon pieces with salt and pepper.

Sear the salmon until a golden crust forms, about 4 to 5 minutes on the first side. This is also a good point to add your pasta to your boiling water and get that cooked. 

Flip the fish and continue cooking for about 4 more minutes more depending on the thickness of the fish, and how you like it cooked.

Remove fish from pan and cover with foil until you are ready for it.
 

Assemble:

Add the tablespoon chopped mint to the lemon broth and divide between 2 shallow dishes. 

Add some pasta to each dish. Don’t pile it on like a big bowl of pasta but more like the little pasta-broth bed for the salmon that it will be.

Place a salmon piece in each bowl and add a generous spoonful of pea puree. A mint leaf makes a great garnish.

Serve immediately.

 

Since I am normally cooking for two, I save half of the pesto for the next day. Don't mix any cheese in that half, as reheating will make it stringy. And as with most recipes, there really isn't any such thing as too much garlic.
 

 

 

 

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