Two weeks ago when my sisters were visiting, both escaping to California from their snowy, rainy, wintery climes, we took Nona out to lunch. We drove a little north of Los Angeles, near the coast in Oxnard to the wonderful Tierra Sur restaurant located at the Baron Herzog winery. Baron Herzog is a well known and respected vintner of kosher wine.
We all ordered different entrees as well as appetizers and the meal gave me a lot of ideas. Barbara ordered a pan seared crispy filet of Salmon with fresh pea tendrils. So perfect for spring and speaking from one who has never been a big pea fan, as in eat your peas and carrots or else, pea tendrils are green and fresh tasting, very yummy indeed.
Carole ordered a Mahi Mahi tostada on fresh tortillas, I had the hanger steak with baby broccoli and Nona ate rutabaga soup leaving room for orange caramel flan, chocolate flourless cake, and Black Arkansas apple crisp.
My version of the Salmon with pea tendrils goes like this:
1 tablespoon safflower oil
3 (8 ounce) Atlantic salmon filets with skin on
1 pound of fresh pea tendrils (I bought them at the Santa Monica Farmers Market)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and Black pepper
1 pink grapefruit, segmented
Mashed potatoes from 3 large Idaho potatoes or 2 potatoes and one large parsnip
If you buy salmon in one large filet, slice it across into three equal portions. I purchased 1.5 pounds of salmon from the center cut of the belly, the shiniest healthy looking, marbled with white fat, piece of salmon I could find, with the skin on. Slice it with a very sharp knife so as to not tear skin or leave a jagged edge on fish. Run your finger over top of filet to feel for any bones that may have been left behind by the fish vendor. If you find a bone, remove it with a fish tweezers.
Heat a non stick skillet; a twelve inch size does a nice job. Add safflower oil and just as it comes to a smoke place the salmon filets evenly spaced in skillet skin side down. Have the exhaust fan running and use a spatter shield to save yourself from all the popping. Turn down heat a little bit. Sauté for about three minutes or until you can see that skin side is quite gold and crispy with the salmon starting to show a little of cooked pink color around the edges. Carefully turn the salmon over with tongs so as to not break fish. Cook until very crispy gold on the second side as well. Season fish with salt and pepper. Turn heat off and let the salmon sit for a moment while you prepare the plates.
Place a generous scoop of mashed potatoes and parsnips in the center of the plate. Flatten the potatoes with the back of the serving spoon. With a tong, carefully place a few pea tendrils over the mashed potatoes. Place the salmon, skin side up on top of the pea tendrils. Next place a mound of pea tendrils on top of salmon. Drizzle dish with a little olive oil, place a few grapefruit segments on side of the plate for garnish and serve.