The Angel Is In The Details

I’ve made seared salmon on sweet potato purée countless times, and variations on that combination have appeared here on a regular basis. There’s not much more to say about it; it’s one of our regular dinners when wild Alaskan salmon is available. I’m posting this to talk briefly about the sauce and condiment, since they made an ordinary plate of food into something pretty damned exciting.

First off, that fluorescent green shape in back is a pesto made with garlic scapes, sorrel, fennel fronds, and celery leaves with lots of olive oil and some maple vinegar. Freaking fantastic; it would go well with anything that wasn’t a dessert. These green mashes are hands down the most versatile of the condiments I make, and shine particularly brightly in conjunction with oily fish like salmon or red meat with a bit of fat on it.

After I took the salmon out of the iron pan, I threw in those baby beets on the left to wil, then added a bit of chicken/beef stock to soften them and deglaze the pan. I pulled out the beets and thickened the pan sauce with a pat of butter, then added a dash each of soy sauce and vinegar and a generous pour of pistachio oil (that I bought in Paris) to add bright bubbles, then strained it into a bowl for spooning. I puréed the sweet potato with some ricotta and more of the pistachio oil for a little harmony.

This was one of those plates that inspires diligent fork work; each bite had to contain some of everything, including shards of the crispy skin. There’s a broad spectrum of flavors between earth and ocean, and this combined some of the more vivid frequencies to excellent effect.

3 comments to The Angel Is In The Details

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I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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