The inspiration for this dish came from the cookbook salad freak by Jess Damuck. Of all the cookbooks I own (and there are many), this one has the most earmarked pages. The original recipe called for snap peas, snow peas, pea tendrils, and creme fraiche, none of which were on hand. However, I did have a bunch of fresh asparagus, arugula, and sour cream in the fridge. And, always, frozen peas in the freezer. If you are lucky enough to have snap and snow peas, please feel free to substitute. Only have green beans? Go for it. Baby baby carrots with peas would be a classic combination, and colorful as well. I think the only rule is to blanch the vegetables so they are still crisp-tender. What do I mean? A bit of bite but not raw.
I dislike the restaurant trend of undercooked vegetables.
I think this is the perfect dish to celebrate spring. If you can get fresh-shelled peas from the farmer’s market or your vegetable garden, please use them. Their tendrils could replace the arugula or spinach. If not, frozen peas (I always have a bag in the freezer) will be just fine. Put them in a colander and run boiling water over them. That’s all they need. When our child was a toddler we called them “ice peas”. They were a favorite, still frozen.
I have a patch of wild spring onions in the garden and used some of the flowers in the salad. Chive flowers would be lovely if you happen to have some.
Ingredients for 4 people:
- 1 large bunch of asparagus (about a pound), cut on the bias into pieces about 1 inch long
- 1 cup of fresh or frozen peas
- 2 handfuls of baby spinach or arugula
- 2 lemons
- 1 pound of fresh salmon, skin removed (cut into 4 portions)
- 2 tablespoons of sour cream
- 2 tablespoons of grainy mustard
- 1/3 cup of finely chopped pistachios
- 1 tablespoon of white wine or white balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F or 165 degrees C
- Pat the salmon dry, season it with salt and pepper, and place it in a baking dish with what would have been the skin side down.
- In a small bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon of the sour cream with the 2 tablespoons of mustard. Smear this mixture over the salmon and sprinkle the pistachios on top to coat the fish.
- Prepare a bowl with ice water in the sink.
- Put the peas (if frozen) into a colander in the sink.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the asparagus, blanch for 2 minutes until bright green and crisp-tender. Use a spider or tongs to transfer the asparagus to the bowl of ice water. If you are using fresh-shelled peas, you can add them to the boiling water with the asparagus and add them to the ice water as well.
- If using frozen peas (which are now in the colander), pour the remaining boiling water over them to defrost and cook them slightly.
- Bake the salmon for 20 to 25 minutes if you prefer it completely opaque, and 15 minutes if you like it on the medium rare side. The timing will depend on the thickness of your fish.
- While the salmon is baking, prepare your dressing. In a small bowl, combine the zest and juice of one lemon, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, the remaining tablespoon of sour cream, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Whisk or mix well and season with salt and pepper.
- Drain and dry the vegetables on paper towels, then combine them with the greens in a large bowl. Add the dressing and mix well. Garnish with edible flowers.
- Serve the salad alongside the salmon with additional lemon wedges.