Pan Seared Salmon with Lime Butter Sauce

I know… I’ve been away. I wish I had a better explanation for you than not being particularly inspired by any recipes as of late, but alas, sometimes it’s just easier to eat out or turn to trusted house favorites during busy weeks. Last night we broke our runt with a damn tasty meal that caused a fiesta in my mouth. Yes, I am serious… a fiesta.

If you have not noticed, we like salmon. So much so, that we often cook the same recipe over and over again. I decided it was time for a new twist on this staple fish and low and behold, folks, we have found another winner! Perfect for a light summer meal, this smoked paprika coated salmon was earthly, moist and jam packed with flavor. Topped with a lovely lime “butter” emulsified sauce (I substituted olive oil in place of an entire stick of butter), the smokiness of the fish balanced perfectly against the tart zing of the drizzled sauce. Paired with a refreshing roasted corn and tomato salad (recipe coming soon) and grilled asparagus, this effortless meal whipped up in no time, but your guests don’t have to know that!

With Fall rapidly approaching, it’s time to squeeze in as many last minute summer meals as possible. Before you know it… I will be talking about pumpkin bread!

Makes 6 servings

Lime Butter Sauce

1 large garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted or 1/2 cup olive oil (I went with the lighter option and it was delicious)

Salmon

6 (6-oz) pieces center-cut salmon fillet (about 1 inch thick) with skin
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lime zest

To make the lime butter, purée garlic with lime juice, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth. With motor running, add melted butter and blend until emulsified, about 30 seconds.

*Note: Lime butter sauce can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Stir before using.

To make the Salmon, warm the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Season the salmon pieces with paprika, salt and pepper. Sear the skin side down, about 3 to 4 minutes on the first side. Flip the fish and continue cooking until medium-rare, about 2 to 3 minutes more depending on the thickness of the fish. Sprinkle fillets with zest and top each with 1 tablespoon lime butter sauce.

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Salmon in Lemon Brodetto with Pea Purée

Last night Judd and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary with a delicious home cooked meal! We just got back from a visit to New York in which we ate the obligatory slice of pizza, bagels, pastrami on rye, as well as a Peter Luger’s burger (I could taste the butter oozing out of the meat), rich Italian food and an AMAZING meal at Momofuku Ssäm Bar (my personal favorite). So, suffice it to say… we stuffed ourselves REAL good and thought it might be time for a slightly lighter meal.

After many years of watching Giada de Laurentiis cook simple food with a giant goofy smile on her face, I thought… hey, it might be time to actually try one of her recipes. Turns out that woman can cook! This dish is full of unexpected and delicious flavors that absolutely surprised me. Peas puréed with mint, garlic, olive oil and parmesan create a lucious and fresh side dish that embodies the flavors of springtime. Top off the purée with a silken broth of sautéed shallots, chicken stock, mint and the zest and juice of a lemon. The mint and lemon flavors are the perfect compliment to a fillet of expertly cooked salmon (let’s all give Judd a round of applause) seasoned with only salt and pepper.

What’s better than cooking a lovely meal with my lovely fiancé on our anniversary? Nothing. This dish was pure bliss and left us both with big smiles on our faces… just like Giada’s!

Makes 4 servings

Lemon Brodetto
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, diced
2 lemons, juiced
1 lemon, zested
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves

Pea Puree
2 cups frozen peas, thawed (about 10 ounces)
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Salmon
1/4 cup olive oil
4 (4 to 6-ounce) pieces salmon
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

To make the Lemon Brodetto, warm the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the lemon juice, zest, and broth. Bring to a simmer, and keep warm, covered, over low heat.

To make the Pea Puree, combine the peas, mint, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor and puree. With the machine running, add the olive oil in a steady drizzle. Transfer the pea puree to a small bowl and stir in the Parmesan. Set aside.

To make the Salmon, warm the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Season the salmon pieces with salt and pepper. Sear the salmon until a golden crust forms, about 4 to 5 minutes on the first side. Flip the fish and continue cooking until medium-rare, about 2 minutes more depending on the thickness of the fish.

To assemble the dish, add the tablespoon chopped mint to the Lemon Brodetto and divide between 4 shallow dishes. Place a large spoonful of Pea Puree into the center of each bowl. Place a salmon piece atop each mound of Pea Puree. Serve immediately.

Honey-Soy Glazed Salmon with Chard and Peppers

During the week, I am all about easy and delicious dinners. After stumbling upon this recipe I was intrigued by the minimal number of ingredients and insanely short cooking time. Dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes? And without the annoying advice of Rachel Ray? Impossible.

Turns out I was mistaken. This dish whips up in no time and has become one of my favorite ways to enjoy salmon. The tamari and honey infuse the fish with a salty sweetness that is hard to describe. Paired with the slightly bitter chard (spinach works wonderfully here as well) and sweet red peppers, the flavors are a perfect balance when you get a little of everything on your fork. If you are ever at a loss of how to impress at a dinner party, I recommend this elegant and simple dish.

For as easy as this dish is to make, you will be blown away by the depth of flavors you’ll find dancing in your mouth!

Makes 2-4 servings

2 tablespoon honey
4 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
1 salmon fillet (1 1/4-pound piece), cut into 4 pieces
kosher salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
3 bunches swiss/rainbow chard or spinach, thick stems removed (about 12 cups)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Heat broiler. In a small bowl, combine the honey and 2 teaspoon of the soy sauce. Place the salmon on a foil-lined broiler-proof baking sheet and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Broil for 5 minutes. Spoon the honey mixture over the salmon and broil until the salmon is opaque throughout, about 10-15 minutes more.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper and cook, tossing occasionally, until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes; stir in the ginger, cook until fragrant. Add the spinach and a pinch of salt and cook, tossing, until just wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of soy sauce. Serve with the salmon and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.