While raising our two wonderful children I cooked my way through a personal collection of seventy-five cookbooks, exploring the favorite recipes of diverse cultures. I became a firm believer that in order to truly understand what makes up a sublime plate one must be able to do more than boil water.
Flash-forward to the present—I am always looking for another challenge that involves personal growth. I am currently working as a jewelry stylist for Nordstrom while still writing, presenting to various groups at local libraries, and caring for my thirty orchids. Yes, I’m crazy busy and have less time to cook, which is why it is so nice when my husband discovers a gem of a recipe like this one. He has made it a number of times and has changed a few critical aspects. He has become a confident cook, unafraid to adjust a method that seems less than satisfactory. He has a couple of suggestions: The cooking time in the original recipe is way too short unless you want to eat raw salmon. Also, his method for preparing the potatoes is superior. He bakes the potatoes rather than boiling them. The potatoes are drier in texture, and form a crunchy platform on which to place the asparagus and the salmon. Try both methods and let us know what you think. Enjoy!
4 medium red-skin potatoes
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
1 bunch jumbo asparagus, tough ends trimmed and sliced on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons vermouth or white wine
¼ cup crème fraîche
Paul Prudhomme Veggie Magic
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add potatoes and boil until just tender, 20 minutes. Drain. When cool enough to handle, peel potatoes and flake into bite-size pieces. Set aside to air-dry. (Bake potatoes until cooked, cool, and chop into bite size pieces.)
2. Season salmon with salt. Spray a baking dish lightly with oil. Arrange salmon, skin-side down, in dish and cover with aluminum foil. Roast until flesh flakes when lightly prodded, about 12 minutes. Remove skin.
3. Meanwhile, melt half the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add asparagus and sauté until bright green, about 2 minutes. Add vermouth and simmer until just tender, about 2 minutes more. Transfer asparagus to a bowl and let cool slightly, 3 minutes. Season with salt and crème fraîche.
4. Set another large sauté pan over medium-high heat and coat with two tablespoons olive oil. Once hot, add chopped potatoes and cook until browned, 2 minutes. Season with Veggie Magic. Flip potatoes, add remaining butter and cook until crisped, 2 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.
Attribution: Eric Ziebold/WSJ