Admittedly, I was a snob about salmon for years—the ubiquitous fish just seemed so blandly run-of-the-mill. That all changed when I stepped into fashion designer Peter Som’s kitchen to shoot a cooking story for EyeSwoon. Peter, who also happens to be an exceptional culinary talent, suggested we make salmon—and I wasn’t about to reveal my bias. So we cooked, and I tasted, and you know what? I swooned. Salmon, I realized, is unbelievably supple, flavorful, and rich. And what other protein can boast such a gorgeous hue? Served atop golden chanterelles, vibrant spring peas, and a deep-green herb sauce, this piece of fish is beautifully dressed. Peter would no doubt approve. Read on for the pan-seared salmon recipe and enjoy!
Pan-Seared Salmon With Peas, Chanterelles, and Dill-Chive Sauce
FOR THE DILL CHIVE SAUCE
½ cup (25 g) chopped fresh dill
½ cup (25 g) chopped fresh chives
⅓ cup (70 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Generous pinch salt
1 lemon, grated zest and 1 to 2 tablespoons juice
FOR THE SALMON
4 tablespoons (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 leek, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise into¼ -inch (6-mm) half-moons
10 ounces (280 g) chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and torn, if large
1 cup (145 g) fresh peas, blanched
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
4 (6-ounce/170-g) center-cut, skin-on salmon fillets
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 handful fresh pea shoots, for garnish
Make the sauce: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the dill, chives, oil, garlic, and salt until finely chopped. (You can also do this by hand.) Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside.
Make the salmon: In a medium skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook until softened, about 5 minutes, being careful not to brown. Add the chanterelles and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the peas and cook for a few minutes, or just long enough to heat them through. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
Generously season the salmon fillets on both sides with salt and pepper. In a nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the fillets, skin-side down, and sear without disturbing until the skin is golden and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook until medium-rare, about 3 minutes.
Stir the lemon zest and juice into the sauce, and the tablespoon of lemon juice into the pea mixture. Place the salmon fillets on a bed of the pea mixture and drizzle with dill sauce. Garnish with the pea shoots
The key to making salmon skin look as good as it tastes is keeping it intact and getting a nice sear on it—both of which are best achieved in a nonstick pan. And wouldn’t it be a shame to cover up that crisp, golden gorgeousness? Here, the bright sauce and verdant veggies mingle in the background of the plate, allowing the fish its moment in the spotlight.