Story last updated at 5/14/2013 - 7:29 pm
I am sure I am not alone in thinking Mother Nature is out of control. Every day I wake up and look out the window hoping against hope that there won’t be some aberration of weather, aka snow, and that spring has finally arrived. So far, disappointment has mocked my hope. Argh! Enough already!
I have lived in Juneau for almost four years and I absolutely understand that I should not expect summers to be sweltering. I accept that tank tops and strappy sandals are probably not in my wardrobe until I become more accustomed to the climate. I’m the one with the sweaters and scarves in July. However, last summer, and this spring, have not been typical. The weather has been miserable and with the recent snow it’s been infuriating. We referred to May and Juneau as May-tober and June-tober and yesterday I overheard May-vember. I believe that deep inside, Juneauites everywhere are quivering with the fear that there will be a repeat of “The Summer of Six days.” That was six individual days when there wasn’t sideways rain and temperatures of 40 degrees. In one word — obnoxious.
How to beat the it’s-spring-but-feels-like-winter blues? Stay busy. I work in the tourism industry and rain or shine, and dare I say snow, visitors will come. And I love it. The energy that comes to town is kinetic and the economic impact is tremendous. That keeps me very busy.
Another method to beat these blues is to cook my way out of it. Eat spring foods such as fruits and salads and fish; drink lemonade garnished with strawberries; get a spray tan. OK, probably not the last one, but definitely the other two.
As a wife of a sport fishing captain, eating fresh salmon is a rite of spring. Green is the color of spring. Combining these two elements might be a challenge, but I enjoy culinary challenges. Some may be thinking, “green fish, is she mad?” Let me confirm I did not make green fish. That is not only mad, it sounds inedible and completely disgusting. I did start experimenting with fresh herbs, greens and simple flavors and what I came up with was a light, refreshing dish.
I started with the salmon; it was nice and red. I reached for one of my favorite ingredients, alderwood smoked salt. This stuff is amazing. Sprinkle some pepper, and this salt on your fish and you’ve got yourself a quick and delightful gourmet dish.
What to do with the green component. Spinach? Sure. I like spinach. But if I cook it too much it’ll get dark green and I don’t think that’ll be too pretty for spring. Keeping veggies looking green and spring-like isn’t terribly hard. Blanch them. Not to be confused with Blanche, as in Blanche Dubois of “A Streetcar Named Desire” fame. But the process of cooking in boiling water for a few minutes and transferring to ice cold water to stop the cooking process completely. It makes green vegetables well, green. A very springy green, which is exactly what I wanted. I blanched spinach and frozen green peas and created a springtime sauce that celebrated the return of flowers in blooms, warm breezes and evening strolls.
Searing the salmon and serving it with the bright, light sauce made me say “Take that Mother Nature!” I’m going to celebrate spring whether she likes it or not.
I’m told that by the time this article is published we should expect sunny days and warmer temperatures. Let us all hope Mother Nature got the forecast memo.
This week I present to you a dish that is light, easy to make and tastes like a warm spring day: Seared Salmon with Triple Green Sauce.
Until next time…
Eat and enjoy,
Seared Salmon with Triple Green Sauce
2 6oz salmon filets
3 cups water
2 cups fresh baby spinach
2 cups frozen peas
1½ cups fresh basil, stems removed
Juice and zest from lemons, separated
¼ - ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus additional ¼ cup olive oil
Salt (alderwood smoked) and pepper to taste
TripLe Green Sauce
In medium saucepan bring 3 cups of water to boil. Liberally salt with sea salt. Prepare iced water in separate bowl. Gently add spinach to boiling water and cook for 3-5 minutes. If it looks like it is getting too dark, remove immediately and place in ice water. Remove from water and drain. Place in food process. Repeat process with frozen peas.
Blend in food processor until well incorporated. Add basil and pulse. Add juice from two lemons and zest from one lemon. Blend well. While food process is on, slowly add in extra virgin olive oil. Taste for consistency and salt and pepper.
Combine ¼ cup olive oil with remaining lemon zest.
Preheat 1 tablespoon olive oil in skillet to medium high heat. Sprinkle alderwood smoked salt and fresh cracked pepper on fish. Place seasoned side down in hot skillet. Sear for 5-7 minutes. Turn and cook additional 3-5 minutes, until fish is crisp on the outside and medium red on the inside. Remove fish from heat and liberally baste with lemon olive oil.
To plate, place green sauce on plate and place fish on top. Garnish with lemon and fresh basil.
Kelly Moore, a.k.a. Midgi, writes and cooks from Juneau. Visit her blog, www.mealswithmidgi.com, for additional stories and recipes. She may be reached at midgi@