Friday, May 27, 2011

Mustard Seed Salmon with Garlic Blossoms and Parsley Butter

Our house guests this week brought fresh-caught salmon with them (which we think all future house guests should take as a challenge), and our produce box sent the scapes and tops from young elephant garlic. Good things were bound to happen.

To use the blossom-filled tops of the garlic scapes, cut each in half crosswise. Empty the little buds from the top half into a small bowl, then peel the bottom half and cut the buds away from the center. Garlic blossoms have a light, springy, and subtle garlicky flavor and ended up complementing the fresh salmon well without overpowering it. If you don't have garlic blossoms, use a little chopped green garlic or a finely chopped leek in its stead.

Olive oil
4 salmon filets
Black and yellow mustard seeds
Blossoms from 2-3 elephant garlic tops
2-3 big handfuls flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Pasture butter

Brush the salmon lightly with olive oil and sprinkle both sides lightly with garlic blossoms (use about half of the blossoms you have, and reserve the other half). Next, liberally sprinkle mustard seeds on both sides of the salmon.

Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat. When hot enough that a drop of water evaporates right away, add a bit of olive oil and let it heat for another 20-30 seconds or so (heating the pan until very hot and then heating the olive oil before adding the salmon will help make sure the fish doesn't stick to the pan).

Place the salmon in the pan skin side up. Sprinkle each fillet with a little salt, and pan fry until the bottoms are lightly golden or until the salmon is cooked through about a third of the way. If the fillets are very thick, you can lower the heat slightly and cover the pan for a couple minutes to help it cook through.

Flip the fillets, sprinkle the tops with a little salt again, and continue to cook until the salmon feels firmer when you press it gently on the top. (If you're open to trying it medium or medium-rare, do -- it's amazing. If you'd prefer to cook it through all the way, you can do that too, but turn off the heat just before it's done, since it will cook a bit more on the plate before you have a chance to eat it.)

Meanwhile, heat a small pot over medium heat. Add a glug of olive oil and a pat of butter, a pinch of salt, and the rest of the garlic blossoms. Saute for 10-20 seconds, then add the parsley, stir, and turn off the heat.

Arrange the salmon over rice or quinoa pilaf, and drizzle a little parsley sauce over the top. Serve right away.

Serves 4.

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