Pan Seared Salmon with Haricots Verts Salad
Recipe courtesy "Robert, the First," by Robert Irvine with Brian O'Reilly, Harper Collins Publishers, 2006
- 1 pound haricots verts (very thin string beans)
- 2 limes
- 1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves
- 1/8 cup fresh tarragon leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 3 tablespoons stone-ground mustard
- 1/8 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
- 1/2 cup grapeseed oil (or your choice of olive or canola oil), plus 1/4 cup
- 1/8 cup bottled water
- 2 tomatoes, seeds removed and finely diced
- 1 medium red onion, finely diced
- 6 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, skin on
- Salt and pepper or adobo seasoning
First blanch the haricots verts in salted boiling water until al dente (or cooked to your liking). Once this is done, drain the beans into a strainer or colander and then they should be shocked by dunking the strainer of beans into a waiting bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process, which will also help them retain a great color. Drain and set aside in refrigerator until needed.
Place 1 of the limes in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave it until the essential oils in the skin are released. These limes will be hot coming from the microwave, so you can let them cool before squeezing them. Turn on the blender and through the feed tube, add the rosemary, tarragon, cilantro, stone-ground mustard, rice wine vinegar, and fresh ginger, and blend together until a smooth paste has formed. At this point the limes should be cool enough to squeeze. With the power on, add the lime juice through the blender feed-tube, and then very slowly add the oil and water until the mixture thickens and can coat the back of a spoon. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Set aside in refrigerator until needed. (When chilled, the dressing should resemble something like mayonnaise.)
Reserve some of the dressing to drizzle on the plate later. Then, mix the beans, tomato, and onions with the dressing (adjusting the amount to your preference) and refrigerate for only a couple of hours. (Don't mix too far ahead, because the salad ingredients will bleed and you will have a very runny dressing).
Heat a large saute pan or heavy skillet for about 3 minutes over high heat. Season the salmon fillets with your choice of seasoning. Add the oil carefully, a little bit at a time, to the pan swirling it around to coat the sides. Place the salmon, flesh side down, and leave untouched for about 3 minutes. (Do not shake the pan! You are trying to get the fish's natural sugars to come to the surface in this browning process.) After about 3 minutes, use a spatula to turn the fish over and cook the other side. The fish will cook quickly, although cooking time will vary according to the thickness of the fillet. Do not overcook it. When you touch the flesh and it springs back, it is done. Remove the fish to a platter and let it rest for a couple of minutes. This rest time is very important; it will allow the juices to flow back into the fish. (Don't worry, it won't get cold!)
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