Salmon with green asparagus pesto
Spring is the most exciting time for foodies and everyone who loves fresh vegetables. It’s the time of year when nature comes alive, bringing the rebirth of green peas, courgettes, artichokes, and asparagus.
T The Dutch may refer to the white aspar asparagus as white gold, but I am part partial to the green spears. They’re more nutty and earthy with a deeper flavour that pairs perfectly with oily fish. Salmon, mackerel or even the humble herring, available at every fish stall around the country, can benefit from a dose of greenness.
This green asparagus pesto, draped over a piece of firm-fleshed salmon, will bring Spring right to your dinner table.
For the asparagus pesto
Fill a large pot with water and bring to the boil. Add some salt and then the asparagus. Boil for 8-9 minutes until they are very tender but not falling apart. Keep 2-3 Tbsp of the cooking liquid and drain the asparagus in a colander. Run them under cold running water to stop them from cooking further and let them cool completely. Cut them into 5 cm pieces and add them to a food processor. Add the pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan, lemon juice, olive oil, 1 Tbsp of the asparagus cooking liquid and a little black pepper. Process well until you have a homogeneous mixture and give it a taste. Add salt if needed, and if you find the pesto too thick for your liking, add a little more of the cooking liquid.
For the salmon
Bring the salmon to room temperature 10-15 minutes before cooking. Pat the salmon fillets dry with kitchen paper and sprinkle with salt on both sides.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and when it starts to shimmer, add the salmon. Pan-fry for 4-5 minutes on one side until golden brown, and then turn the fillets over and pan-fry for a further 3-4 minutes or until cooked to your liking. Take the fillets out of the pan and onto a plate covered with kitchen paper to absorb the extra oil. Place them on two individual plates and serve immediately with the pesto on the side or on top of the fish. Keep any leftover pesto in the fridge, covered, for 1-2 days. «