I talked about this recipe almost exactly a year ago in the context of, not salmon nor peas, but what we munched on alongside some very refreshing peach sangria. Maybe because I’ve been on another white wine cocktail rampage this week (partly due to a new found obsession with Aperol – see here for Aperol inspired delight), but I’ve been craving this salmon like crazy lately. The recipe here is one John introduced me to; taken from Food Network’s Giada De Laurentiis, it proves what a horrible snob I can be. I like to think I have pretty humble taste in food – my favorite things to make and eat are pretty rustic, but when it comes to the bling and in-your-face commercialism that is the modern Food Network, I tend to stick up my nose.
***In the cinema version of this blog, the camera would now cut to John smirking and rolling his eyes. Perhaps recounting the time when I, temporarily unemployed, cancelled a doctor’s appointment so I could stay home in my pajamas and watch back to back episodes of Top Chef.***
But getting back to Giada’s salmon: it’s damn good. One bite sent me (and my snobbery) scurrying under the table tail between my legs. A unique combination of very simple ingredients which looks and tastes uber-impressive, but takes all of 15 minutes to throw together. You start with some peas – I used frozen, but you could swap in fresh if you have them – blanche them briefly and toss in some parmesan, olive oil, garlic, salt, and plenty of fresh mint. Mash all this together with a fork, or lob it in the food processor and pulse a few times. Once the peas are done, you put your salmon on the grill, and while it’s smoking away, make yourself some lemon broth by sautéing a shallot in olive oil, adding in some chicken or vegetable broth, and seasoning the whole thing with lots of lemon and salt. Smear your peas in the bottom of a serving dish, top with your grilled salmon, and pour lemon broth over the whole thing. With the addition of a simple salad of greens and sliced radishes from The Food Project, we had ourselves an A+ weeknight meal.
So go grab yourself a fork, pour a large glass of that sangria, and prepare for summer bliss.
Grilled Salmon, Mashed Minty Peas, and Lemon Broth
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
For the Peas
- 1 lb fresh shucked or frozen peas
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- A large handful fresh mint, finely chopped
- Generous parmesan for grating
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper
The peas can be made up to 2 hours ahead of time and kept at room temperature until you are ready to serve. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. For frozen peas, cook 1-2 minutes; for fresh peas, cook 3-4 minutes. Once cooked, drain the peas and add the garlic, mint, parmesan, and olive oil. Mash well using a fork. Alternatively, this can be done in a food processor – pulse in intervals to retain some texture. Taste and season generously with salt and pepper.
For the Salmon
- 4 salmon fillets, skin on, pin bones removed
- Olive oil for drizzling
- Salt and pepper
Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Rub the salmon with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill skin side down 2-3 minutes and then flip and continue grilling until the salmon is cooked to your liking (2-4 minutes depending on the thickness of the filets and your taste.) If you don’t have a grill, the salmon can be cooked in the oven – see here for slow roasting directions.
For the Lemon Broth
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large shallot, finely minced
- 2 cups mild chicken or vegetable stock
- Lemon zest and juice to taste
- Salt to taste
While the salmon is grilling, make the lemon broth. Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the shallot and sauté 2-3 minutes until just tender. Add the broth and bring to a rapid boil. Boil 1-2 minutes to reduce and then add some grated lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning and lemon as needed – you want something brightly lemony and well seasoned.
Divide the peas between 4 plates or bowls. Top each with a salmon filet and spoon over lots of the lemon broth. Garnish with fresh chopped chives, chive flowers, or torn mint leaves.