This past weekend we went on a somewhat impromptu trip to Virginia to visit my family for Palm Sunday. I was able to see the majority of my immediate and extended family, shop at my favorite spot in Vienna, ReFind, and pick up my favorite wine at Whole Foods, Caves de Saumur Blanc Les Pouches. I did, however, forget to stock up on Duke’s Mayo but I think I can blame that on wanting an excuse to drive out to Fresh Market in Westport sometime in the near future. The visit was FANTASTIC to say the least and I’m already counting down the days to the next time we head down south.
Since traveling brings out the worst in our eating habits, I’m trying to stay as healthy as possible this week. I’m also trying to avoid a big grocery store trip until this coming weekend’s Easter feast. Most of the protein that is left in freezer and pantry came from the sea (salmon, bay scallops, canned sardines and mackerel) so it looks like we are going to have quite the pescetarian week. Last night I whipped up a quick salmon dish with some vegetables that were on their last legs from the week before. I couldn’t help but pair it all with a dollop of herbed crème fraîche – sooo maybe I’ve already cheated on the healthy idea just a bit. 😉
For the herbed crème fraîche
2-3 tablespoons crème fraîche
½ tablespoon chopped parsley
½ tablespoon chopped chives
½ tablespoon chopped dill
Zest of half a lemon
Pinch of salt
For the roasted red potatoes and leeks
2 medium red potatoes, quartered lengthwise
1 leek, quartered sliced lengthwise
Drizzle of olive oil
Dash of salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salmon
2 wild caught salmon fillets with skin on – about 4-6 ounces each
To serve on the side
1 bunch of arugula
2-3 radishes, sliced
Tablespoon of capers
Freshly ground black pepper
First, thaw the salmon overnight if it is frozen. Then about an hour before cooking, place the fillets on a plate in the refrigerator to dry out.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. When it’s heated and ready, arrange the potatoes (drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper) on a baking sheet and place in the oven to cook for about 30 minutes. Flip the potatoes after 15 minutes. Also, at the time of the flip, place another baking sheet with the seasoned leeks in the oven. Check on the leeks every 5 minutes to ensure they don’t burn.
While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the herbed crème fraîche. Chop up the herbs, zest the lemon, and simply mix in the crème fraîche in a small bowl. Set aside in the fridge until ready to serve.
When the vegetables are just about 5-7 minutes away from being ready, take the salmon out of the fridge and season both sides with salt. Then start heating a stainless steel pan over high heat. When the pan is hot, heat a tablespoon of olive oil until it is smoking. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully wipe the olive oil around the pan with paper towels to coat it (don’t burn yourself). I’ve been told this creates a non-stick coating on the pan and helps to really crisp up the salmon skin.
Put the pan back on the heat. Add another tablespoon of olive oil and let it heat up for a moment or two. When ready, carefully place each salmon fillet skin side down in the oil. Cook for 3 minutes, then flip and remove the pan from the heat. The salmon will finish cooking on the pan – wait about another minute or two, depending on how done you like your salmon.
Serve the salmon fillets with a dollop of the herbed crème fraîche, potatoes, leeks, radish slices, capers, and arugula.