Spring is in the air… or at least it was in the air on Saturday. Yes, I make lots of subtle but possibly sarcastic remarks about the fantastic weather (oops there’s one!) here in the Pacific Northwest, but truly, there is no place more beautiful. And of course, it’s so beautiful because it rains much of the time. Not really hard pelting rain, but that lovely thing we call the Seattle mist… which sounds more romantic.
With spring comes a flurry of gardening and getting ready for what we all cross our fingers and hope is a good summer growing season. One of the first produce to arrive in our misty and cloudy location is the spring pea. Asparagus is also among the spring produce along with rhubarb, artichokes, spring greens and a few more lovely pieces of produce.
Spring peas however are my one of my favorites, and beautifully compliment a spring meal. Not only are they complimentary, but they can certainly take center stage. I love fresh spring peas in my risotto with a little diced ham, or a mix of fresh carrots and spring peas in a decadent chicken or veggie pot pie.
One of my favorite spring meals is this tasty grilled King salmon with fresh spring peas topped with a divine lemon tarragon and mustard cream sauce. The lemon, mustard and fresh tarragon pairs beautifully with the richness of the salmon and delicate peas. It looks so lovely on the plate, if you light a few candles you’ll think you’re dining at a five-star restaurant.
Lemon, Tarragon and Mustard Cream Sauce over Grilled Salmon and Spring Peas
4 pieces fresh wild King salmon
Veggie oil or high heat peanut oil
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
1/2 cup white wine or dry vermouth
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
1 cup (or a little more) organic heavy cream
Squeeze of lemon (about two tablespoons)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon, and a little extra for garnish
2 cups organic spring peas or baby peas (can be frozen or fresh) lightly steamed or sautéed and seasoned with salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 350F. In an ovenproof skillet, heat over medium high heat a few tablespoons high heat oil. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and place skin side down in the skillet.
Sear the salmon for about 5 minutes and then transfer the skillet to the oven to finish cooking. Salmon typically cooks about 10 minutes per inch of thickness or until you see the opaque white juices emerging. Remove the salmon from the oven and keep warm.
In a sauté pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon oil. When the butter is melted and frothy, add the shallots and sauté for a minute or two until the shallots are fragrant and wilted.
Whisk in the white wine and let the wine reduce by half. Add the whole grain mustard and heavy cream. Whisk and simmer until the cream thickens slightly.
Whisk in the squeeze of lemon and fresh tarragon and then remove from the heat. Taste the sauce and add a pinch of salt and pepper as needed.
To serve, place a few spoonfuls of peas on a plate, top with a piece of salmon and then ladle a spoonful of sauce over the salmon. Garnish with fresh chopped tarragon. Enjoy!