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Fish and Shellfish, Healthy Eating, Mains

Sauteed salmon with morels and peas

With farm-raised fresh salmon available every day of the year, it's easy to forget that fresh salmon used to be a seasonal specialty. But just as sweet corn, strawberries or watermelon never taste as good as they do at the ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes | Serves 4
  • 1/2 to 3/4 pound morels, or half morels and half brown mushrooms
  • 1 pound shelling peas, or 3/4 pound sugar snap peas
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced green onion
  • Fresh thyme sprigs or dash dried thyme leaves
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dry Madeira or Sherry
  • Dash soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 4 (4-to 6-ounce) diagonal slices salmon filet
  • 1 tablespoon mild olive or peanut oil

Step 1Slice the morels in half lengthwise and brush or shake off any debris; wash them only if absolutely necessary, and drain thoroughly. Slice the brown mushrooms 1/4-inch thick. Remove the peas from the pods, or if using sugar snaps, trim and string the pods. Blanch the peas in lightly salted water until they're crisp-tender and rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking.

Step 2Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat and add the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms until they begin to color, 2 to 3 minutes, then add the green onion, 1 thyme sprig and a dash of salt and pepper. When the mushrooms begin to release their liquid, add the wine and soy sauce and cook until nearly dry, 1 minute. Add the cream and peas, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

Step 3Meanwhile, season the salmon lightly with salt and pepper and heat the oil in another skillet (preferably nonstick). Cook the salmon over high heat until nicely browned and a skewer slides in easily, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the salmon to a serving dish or individual plates. Correct the seasoning of the mushroom-pea mixture and spoon it around the salmon. Garnish with more fresh thyme if desired.

Note: Morels, one of the few wild mushrooms to peak in late spring, go particularly well with salmon. Combining a generous portion of morels--cut with commercial mushrooms if your budget dictates--with peas and cream makes a rich vegetable and sauce accompaniment for simply sauteed salmon. Given both the cost of the mushrooms and the richness of the sauce, small portions of salmon are in order; the large filet cuts typical of many fish counters can be cut in half.
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