From a future father’s perspective, I was so excited when we found out that Abby was pregnant. From a chef’s perspective, I was as unprepared for my wife’s first trimester as anything.
The never-ending energetic Abby actually started taking naps out of exhaustion. Her champion breakfasts turned to buttered toast due to morning sickness. The woman who got me drinking green smoothies started requesting pizza and chips! The little lull in Fig & Fork posts over the last few weeks might have had something to do with this!
So when the twelfth week came around and Abby asked me to cook something healthy and fresh for dinner, I did a flip! I ran out and got Alaskan wild salmon, known for its lower mercury content and omega-3s. We had green garlic and spinach from our CSA and I was thrilled to use radish and peas from our garden. I put a twist on spinach puree by adding brown butter and lemon, a technique known as meuniere in French that is generally used as a pan sauce with fish.
Knowing her taste buds had changed drastically, I can admit to being more nervous to cook this meal for her then any other in the past. At the end of the night she loved it and that’s why I’m excited to share it with you.
Spring Salmon with Green Garlic, Peas and Radish
2-4 ounce filets of Alaskan wild salmon without skin
a few tablespoons of cooking oil
1 bunch curly spinach, stems removed
3 ounces butter (about six tablespoons)
4 heads green garlic cut lengthwise, outside layer peeled and roots cut off (see photo)
5 breakfast radishes cut lengthwise
a handful of peas (I used shell peas, try cutting up sugar snap or snow peas!)
salt and pepper
sprig of dill
Put the green garlic cut side down in a pan with water, salt and pepper over medium heat. Wait a few minutes (2-3) and then add the radishes. They are both done when they are fork tender (about 8 minutes). Add the peas with one minute left to cook. Remove from heat and set aside.
For the spinach puree, brown the butter over medium heat. Stir it while it melts and add the spinach once the butter has taken on a rich brown color. When you add the spinach it may splatter, so watch out! Keep stirring while the spinach wilts, about one minute. Using a spatula, pour the butter and spinach into a blender or Vitamix. Add the juice of one lemon and a big pinch of salt. Puree until smooth.
At home I cook all fish in a nonstick pan and cover it so my stove top doesn’t get speckled with the oil splattering. Heat the pan to medium high heat and coat the bottom with cooking oil. Season both sides of the salmon with salt and pepper. I let my pan get so hot it’s almost smoking, then add the fish and cover with a lid. Cooking time varies according to the thickness of the filet. I cooked the 4 ounce portion for three minutes, turned the heat off and let it sit in the pan for two minutes, never flipping the fish. This also allows the splatter to calm down before removing lid.
To plate the dish, take a large spoonful of the spinach puree and make a swoosh on the plate. Then add the vegetables opposite of the spinach swoosh. Next add the fish in the center. Garnish with a sprig of dill, freshly shaved radish and a squeeze of lemon. If you’re lucky enough to have peas in your garden, cut a few tendrils for garnish.