Salmon, Asparagus and Watercress…oh MY!


When it comes to cooking, I have to admit that I am not a “stick to one recipe” kind of girl. I find myself scouring blogs, recipe sites, even dusting off the ‘ol cookbooks- taking ideas and intermixing them to make a creation that suits our household tastes (and items in the kitchen). However, when I came across this Pan Seared Salmon with Asparagus lemon salad, Red wine reduction and Watercress puree on Food Network I followed it to a T. Now, when it comes to my own palette, I am pure and simple: fruits and vegetables in their natural state and some protein but I love to spoil those I feed and make them feel like they are eating at a 4 star restaurant. But when I have cravings (the kind where my mouth waters just thinking about it) I tend to go all out and this weeks craving just happened to be salmon. We try to eat fish about once a week- I’d like to up it to twice and living in the Pacific Northwest there really is no excuse not to. How mid-westerners survive with days old, frozen or farm-raised salmon is far too complex for me to understand. Despite the separate steps involved in this recipe, it really did come together quickly and I was left at the end with everything assembled waiting for the baked potato to finish..the backup plan because I really didn’t think the guys of the house would touch this dish. But they did, compliments to the chef included. Do yourself a favor and boost your culinary confidence by making this gourmet meal.

To prepare- make each component in the following order: red wine reduction, watercress puree, asparagus salad, and seared salmon.

Step 1: Red Wine Reduction

  • 4 cups dry red wine
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 rosemary spring
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 4 stems of basil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a shallow pan and simmer over medium-low heat. Slowly reduce until concentrated and thick. Note: At the end, I added a tablespoon of agave and a dash of balsamic vinegar to brighten the sauce a bit.

Step 2: Watercress Puree

  • 1 bunch watercress- washed and stems removed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 sprig basil, leaves only
  • Pinch kosher salt and ground black pepper

Add all the ingredients into blender and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Step 3: Asparagus Lemon Salad

  • 1 bunch fresh green asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 shallots, cut into 1/4-inch rings
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil over medium heat. Add asparagus and blanch for no longer than 1 minute- drain. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add olive oil. Stir in shallots and cook until  translucent. Add the asparagus and cook for approximately 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest and juice and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Step 4: Salmon

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and 1 tsp chopped garlic

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Season the salmon with salt, pepper and garlic. Sear until almost cooked through, about 7 minutes. Turn the fillets over and cook them for 2 minutes more.

When plating pour 1/4 cup watercress puree and top with a few asparagus spears. Top with salmon and drizzle with red wine reduction. Enjoy!

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