I noticed only recently that there was no ‘seafood’ category here which was quite strange as we do eat fish and other seafood once in a while. Maybe it was down to the fact that I never really created anything worth sharing here.
Having said that, my first seafood related post is nothing above the ordinary but I thought it was a great idea for a quick mid week supper. Not to mention the fact that I wanted to share my very first attempt at cooking fresh white asparagus.
It’s been about a week since we arrived in Paris and so far we’ve had a great time. What I like best is the fact that every area within this large city has its own share of green grocers, fishmongers, butchers and bakeries. So no matter where you’re living, you can be assured that good quality stuff is not too far from you. And even if it is, the well connected metro lines mean that you can get the best ingredients without too much effort. Makes cooking and experimenting with seasonal produce such a joy!
There’s a produce market twice a week just around the corner from where we are (marché Grenelle in the 15th). On Wednesdays and Sundays, the whole stretch below the metro tracks are taken over by stands selling everything from fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish and roasted chickens and charcuterie to stalls selling household wares. There’s a tempting array of goods on display and it makes me envious of the locals who get to go there all year round. We have a few more weeks to enjoy this privilege and I know what I’d like to bring back home (juicy looking cherries and figs for starters) the next time round. And maybe some pictures of the market itself.
On our first visit there, we came back home with lots of little goodies. It included a bunch of white asparagus. I’ve tasted white asparagus before but never cooked with it so it seemed like a good idea to get some.
Later in the day, we popped into the fishmonger’s where we got some beautiful salmon fillets. Everything there is so fresh looking and inviting but I left the more challenging seafood varieties for until later.
The idea was to pan fry the fillets, blanch the asparagus and have some roasted potatoes on the side.
Since my usual supply of herbs and spices is not at hand, I rubbed a mix of coriander and chilli powder (the only spices I have gained from another trip in the city) on the salmon before frying it. We usually fry whole pieces of fish smothered in a similar spice mix back home so I thought it would impart a nice layer of flavour if I added it with a light hand.
The fish turned out to have a subtle spice flavour which complemented the plain asparagus quite well. With the potatoes alongside, it made for a perfect spring evening dinner.
Lightly Spiced Pan Fried Salmon & White Asparagus
For the Salmon
2 medium sized salmon fillets
a good pinch of coriander powder and chilli powder
salt to taste
a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a good knob of butter
juice of half a lemon
Place the salmon fillets on a work surface. Remove any scales and/or stray bones that you find. Sprinkle the coriander and chilli powders on the fillets along with some salt. Rub the spices all over both sides of the fillet and set aside.
Heat the oil and butter in a medium sized frying pan. Once the butter has melted and the pan is nice and hot, place the fillets skin side down in the pan.
Let it cook this way for about 7-8 minutes. You’ll notice the sides of the fish turning opaque as it cooks. Once it’s almost opaque all the way to the top, turn it so the skin side is now facing up. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and baste the fillets with the pan juices every few seconds.
The fish should be done within about 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
For the white asparagus – I took inspiration from a Saveur recipe found here
about 300g fresh white asparagus
a knob of butter
juice of half a lemon
Trim the ends of the asparagus stalks by cutting off about 1-2 inches of each stalk from the bottom. Peel the outer tough layer using a vegetable peeler. Meanwhile add the butter, lemon juice and salt to a pan of water and bring it to the simmer.
Add the asparagus to the pan of simmering water and let it cook. Depending on the thickness of the stalks this can vary from 10 to 30 minutes. Once the stalks are soft enough, drain them and set aside.
To add extra flavour to the asparagus, I gave them a quick toss in the pan that I’d used to fry the fish.
Once done, serve the salmon together with a couple of asparagus stalks for each portion along with any other side that you feel like. I went for roasted new potatoes as an easy choice. However, this dish should also go well with a helping of rice or bread along with a salad. A classic sauce such as béarnaise or hollandaise could also be added to give it that extra zing. It’s all upto your imagination.