Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Salmon with Citrus Vinaigrette from Food & Wine’s 2006 Best New Chef of the Year

Have you ever been curious about what restaurant chefs serve their family for dinner? I certainly have. Alec Le Sueur traveled with Food & Wine’s 2006 Best New Chef of the Year, Virginia's Cathal Armstrong, to Canthal’s native Ireland to find the answer to that question. For the family reunion Chef Cathal chose a fennel and Atlantic lobster salad with a creamy tarragon-lemon dressing, pan-fried salmon fillets in a citrus sauce, and skillet-seared lamb with slow roasted tomatoes. His parents are extremely proud of their son and rightfully so. “Gorgeous” was the word heard over and over around the table to describe his beautifully prepared homecoming feast. The entire article can be found on Food & Wine’s website, along with all of the recipes, including the Irish brown bread and puff pastry apple pie that completed his meal.

We eat a lot of fish, particularly salmon and tilapia. I’m always searching for new ways to fix these old favorites. For the salmon Chef Canthal prepared a bright, citrus vinaigrette and served asparagus alongside. I changed a couple of things to suit my style. Broiled salmon is our preferred method for cooking salmon, so that’s what we did instead of pan frying. The chef cooked his asparagus in salted water. Every time I do it this way I think its flavor is flat, perhaps because chefs use more salt in the water than I do. I like to cook asparagus in a mixture of half beef broth and half water and never leave its side, checking frequently for doneness. There’s nothing worse than limp, overcooked asparagus that turns a murky brown. When I buy asparagus, I prefer fat asparagus to the thin stalks because they have much more flavor. This is one time "small" isn’t what you're looking for when you choose vegetables.

Salmon with Citrus Vinaigrette
Adapted from Food & Wine Magazine - Recipe from Cathal Armstrong 
Serves 8

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
1 medium shallot, minced
2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds fat asparagus, stalks snapped & peeled
Beef Broth
8 six-ounce salmon fillets
3 tablespoons canola oil

In a small saucepan, combine the three citrus juices and simmer over moderate heat until reduced by half, about ten minutes. Pour into a heatproof bowl and let cool to room temperature. Whisk in the shallot, chives and the 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Add a mixture of half beef bouillon and half salted water to a large skillet, just enough to amply cover the asparagus. Add asparagus, cover, and bring to a boil. As soon as the liquid boils, turn the heat down to low and cook for three or four minutes, checking the asparagus for doneness. With large, fat asparagus, it may take five minutes. When done, remove asparagus with slotted spatula and dry well on a kitchen towel. Transfer to a platter and drizzle with good extra-virgin olive oil.

Preheat the oven to broil. Arrange the pieces of fish in one layer, skin side down, on an unheated broiler tray or large sheet pan lined with heavy duty foil for easier clean-up. Smear with the canola and season with salt and pepper. Place the fish under the broiler about six to seven inches from the source of heat. Broil about six minutes or just until the pieces are cooked through. It’s not necessary to turn the fish. If the fish begins to brown too much, turn the oven to 400 degrees F and bake for a few minutes until they achieve your desired doneness.
Transfer the salmon to plates and spoon with some of the citrus vinaigrette.  Serve the asparagus alongside and pass the extra vinaigrette.


  1. I make a similar recipe, cooking the salmon right on top of the asparagus, roasting it with a lemon shallot sauce! We love it, such a nice weeknight meal!
    Thanks for reminding me! Haven't made it in a while!

  2. Wow, that is one beautiful piece of salmon. What a perfect meal complete with delicious flavors.

  3. Sam, this looks wonderful. We love salmon and I am always ready to try a new way to prepare it. Asparagus is a great match with salmon. Great photo!

  4. That plate looks gorgeous, Sam! But I'm right with you on asparagus, I like mine crisp and full of flavor so that's why I prefer mine grilled or broiled.

    LOL, my word verification is "imboil".

  5. What a great close up Sam! I always look forward to seeing who makes it. One year a friend of mine in Dallas was picked, she moved back to Seattle and we stay in contact, but it is fun to see the women make it :)

    Second great looking asparagus I have seen in the last ten, so greens for lunch tomorrow!

  6. What a great looking recipe!

  7. I like variety of citrus in this marinade, it provide several nuanced notes. I also broil my fish in the oven as described in this recipe. I enjoy the simplicity of the method and the fish is always moist.

  8. I love salmon; it's one of our favorites, too. Love any ideas for new ways too cook it! Also love asparagus; roasted some this week, along with CSA carrots. SO good. I love N.C. produce!

  9. Salmon is my fav. fish and I know I will this method of cooking it. Thanks for sharing. I will try out the citrus vinaigrette. :) Thanks for sharing it :)

  10. I love the simplicity of this meal. The viniagratte is a wonderful combo with the salty fish!

  11. I love salmon and have a favorite recipe, but am always looking for another. This one sounds wonderful and perfect for summer!

  12. Yumm! Putting it on the menu for tomorrow!

  13. My family loves salmon. This is definitely a recipe I will prepare.

    And, the orange and avocado salad looks and sound irresistible.

  14. Your salmon looks positively delicious and gorgeous! Will have to save this for the allergic-to-everything kid as this is one food that she can eat. Thanks for a terrific post.

  15. I poach my salmon in citrus so this recipe is right up my alley. I am bookmarking it for the weekend. Especially if I can manage to afford the Copper River Salmon that just came in. This sauce is too flavorful to pass up, I love the way you cook the asparagus - huge, big, fat asparagus is now available at all the farmers markets and your recipe is perfect for them. Who needs skinny limp asparagus anyway?

  16. I agree with you, Sam. The bigger the asparagus spears the better. I think their flavor and texture is so much better than those skinny little spears. A splash of citrus brings out the wonderful flavor of salmon. What a scrumptious plate.

  17. Everything you do is perfection, Sam! I wish I had this right now.


    Sheila :-)

  18. I'm always looking for new ways to prepare salmon as I LOVE IT! What a great combination of flavors! A contender for this weekend!!!!

  19. Sam, thank you for this wonderful recipe. That citrus vinaigrette really makes this dish sing. I can't wait to give this a try. Salmon and asparagus are locally available right now and this is a great way to take advantage of both. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  20. The salmon sounds excellent with citrus vinaigrette!

  21. It was yummy! The citrus vinaigrette was so good -- such a bright note added to the salmon.

    And asparagus briefly sauteed in olive oil with cherry tomatoes plus a version of your corn cakes. Thanks, Sam!

  22. A lovely photo, Sam. And the idea of citrus with salmon is terrific. I don't know why I always end up with something Asian on my salmon. I should do something summery and fresh like this!

  23. I am always seeking out recipes to prepare my salmon too Sam. This looks like a delicious presentation.

  24. this vinaigrette, I do believe, is the real secret to this dish - or am I stating the obvious? Looks Great!

  25. I can never get too many great salmon recipes and this looks like a winner. I agree about thick asparagus being better. Thanks for the link to the Food and Wine article. I'll go read it now.

  26. I wanted the sea bass with a orange sauce at a restaurant today but they had sold out sob sob

    this looks amazing

    lol Rebecca

  27. When I first started working in Restaurants, and soon after working with Chefs I really respected. I was appalled to see what they ate at home! Their secrets are safe with me so I will give you a few examples:

    Hamburger Helper
    Stovetop Stuffing

    One of the Chefs mentioned their mother raised them on Shake and Bake and he still makes it today.
    A few of them worked in Michelin Starred Restaurants.

    This Fish looks so refreshing!

  28. This looks so fresh. Perfect for Summer. I would love to experience being a family member of a chef-that would be awesome.

  29. Sam,
    Your salmon looks so lovely and delicious. I like salmon very much and this sounds like a great way to fix it. Thanks for the recipe.
    Have a wonderful Memorial Day!

  30. Hello sam!!
    I have been away on a biking holiday & see what I have missed!

    This salmon dish with the green asparagus looks so tasty!! I also love the citrus vinegraitte!!

    Very easy yet so a lovely vinegraitte!


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