Poached Salmon with Artichoke Puree
This is one of my favorite recipes that I have created. It is super easy, quick to make, and healthy. Furthermore, this dish is great to make when you are entertaining because it does not take you away from your guests for very long and yet the final product looks and tastes quite impressive!
As with most my recipes, I came up with this one by wandering around my grocery store and eying the various foods I love. When I saw that the frozen food section had artichoke hearts--which I LOVE--I knew I had to make something with them. Since artichoke hearts have a strong flavor, I knew they needed to be paired with another strong flavor so that is how I decided to prepare it with salmon. However, because there are strong flavors involved I needed to keep the various tastes simple so that it was not overwhelming. That is why I only poach the salmon and add no flavors to it except lemon. I then wanted to add the tomatoes since they have such a nice mellow and refreshing taste. Finally, I added the asparagus because, frankly, I like their color and shape for the dish.
Here is what you need to make the dish (per serving):
Frozen artichoke hearts (9 oz.)
Salmon (about half a pound should be good)
Cherry or grape tomatoes (about 8)
Asparagus stalks (about 8)
And what you do:
- Place frozen artichokes in the microwave and cook as directed on the box (mostly likely, you will need to microwave the artichokes for 5-6 minutes in a microwavable bowl).
- As the artichokes are cooking, prepare the asparagus and tomatoes. Take a stalk of asparagus and hold both ends. Now bring the two ends together as if you are folding the asparagus in half. In this process the asparagus will snap such that you can throw out the bottom part where it is a bit tougher. Repeat this with the remaining stalks. For the tomatoes, cut each in half length ways.
- Place salmon in a pan and pour water into the pan until the water reaches half-way the height of the salmon. Place two thinly sliced lemon pieces into the water for flavor and turn stove to a medium to medium-high heat. Cook until salmon is cooked thoroughly and is firm to the touch (about 4-5 minutes on each side). (See picture.)
- Start cooking the asparagus by either grilling (as I did here), steaming, or lightly broiling.
- While salmon and asparagus are cooking, take cooked artichokes and place them into a food processor(1). Add olive oil (about 1/4 cup) and salt to taste. Also add the juice from half a lemon and about a teaspoon of the lemon's zest(2). Puree all ingredients together until the artichokes are nice and smooth.
- Spoon artichoke puree into a shallow bowl or plate. Take salmon and place it on top of the puree. Place the asparagus and tomato halves on top in a decorative fashion.
(1) Food Processor - I am obsessed with my food processor and can not imagine life in the kitchen with out it. So if you do not have one, I strongly recommend going out and getting one! They are expensive, but I find that the department stores put them on really great sales every now and then so just keep your eye for these awesome sales. As for this recipe, if you do not have a food processor I think you can still make a variation of the puree. I have not actually tried this, but I imagine after the artichokes are cooked, you can spread them out on a cutting board and run your knife through them until they are in small chunks. Then, as the recipes notes above, add the olive oil (about 1-2 tbsp), salt, lemon juice, and zest to taste and mix well.
(2) Lemon Zest - You will need a microplane (or other fine grater) to do this. If you do not have the proper utensil, no worries, just add some more lemon juice instead. When you do zest, only take the yellow part off of the lemon. The white part is bitter so you do not want that.