Mustard Salmon With Spring Vegetable Stew
Fresh wild salmon, which is available in spring and summer, is preferred for its superior flavor and brilliant color. Here, a large piece of boneless fillet is seasoned with crushed fennel seed, coarse black pepper and Dijon mustard, which contrast nicely with the salmon’s sweetness. To accompany the salmon, a combination of spring vegetables is lightly simmered with butter for a French-style stew. Sizzling brown mustard seeds and green chile in oil — the technique called tadka in Indian cooking— supplies a welcome spicy finish.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1 ½pounds boneless, skin-on center-cut salmon fillet, preferably wild or sustainably farmed
- Kosher salt
- 1teaspoon coarse-crushed fennel seed (use a mortar or spice mill)
- ½teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
- 2tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1medium fennel bulb, diced
- 1pound medium asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
- 4ounces sugar snap peas, topped, tailed and halved crosswise (about 1 cup)
- ¾pound English peas in the pod, shucked (about 1 cup)
- 5ounces cauliflower, cut into tiny florets (about 2 cups)
- 6medium scallions, white and green parts, sliced at an angle in 1/4-inch lengths
- 1tablespoon safflower oil or other vegetable oil
- 1teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- 1serrano chile, finely chopped, or less, to taste
- 1tablespoon chopped tarragon
- 2tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Step 1Heat oven to 375 degrees. Sprinkle salmon lightly on both sides with kosher salt. Place skin-side down in a low baking dish. Sprinkle top of fish with fennel and black pepper. Smear mustard evenly over the surface. Leave for at least 10 minutes to absorb seasoning and come to room temperature.
Step 2Bake salmon, uncovered, just until white juices begin to surface at sides and top, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness. Remove and let rest 5 minutes. (Salmon should be perfectly cooked, still moist at center.)
Step 3As salmon cooks, make the vegetable stew: Set a Dutch oven or wide, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Melt butter, then add the fennel. Season lightly with salt. Let fennel cook without browning, stirring frequently until just done, about 5 minutes. Add asparagus, sugar snap peas, shucked peas, cauliflower, scallions and a small pinch of salt. Stir to combine and add ¼ cup water. Raise heat to high and cover pot. Cook for 5 minutes, until vegetables are tender-crisp and just done (residual heat will cook them further). Turn off heat and transfer vegetables to a serving dish.
Step 4In a tiny skillet, heat oil over medium-high. When oil is wavy, add mustard seeds and serrano chile, and stir together. When mustard seeds begin to sputter and pop, pour contents of skillet over the vegetable stew. Top with tarragon and parsley.
Step 5For each serving, place a piece of salmon on a warmed plate. Spoon some vegetables over and around salmon. Pass remaining vegetables at the table.