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Seared Salmon with Potatoes

For variety, replace the parsley with basil, tarragon or another fairly sturdy fresh herb. Tiny or especially delicate herbs such as thyme, dill and chervil are more difficult to fry successfully but are also possible substitutions.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1/4 cup milk, warmed
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 4 large fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  • 4 salmon fillets, about 1 1/2 lb. total, pin bones removed
  • 2 lemons, sliced

Directions:

Prepare the potatoes
Place the potatoes in a saucepan with water to cover. Add the 1/2 tsp. salt, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Return the potatoes to the pan, set over low heat, and add the milk and butter. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes until creamy, adding some of the reserved cooking water if the potatoes are too thick. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

Cook the parsley and salmon
Meanwhile, in a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the parsley and cook until crisp, 10 to 15 seconds. Using tongs, transfer to a paper towel to drain.

Add the salmon to the fry pan and cook until browned underneath, about 4 minutes. Turn the salmon over and cook until opaque throughout, 2 to 4 minutes more. Add the lemon slices to the pan and let warm as the salmon finishes cooking. Arrange the potatoes, salmon, lemon slices and parsley sprigs on plates and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Seafood, by Jay Harlow (Oxmoor House, 2007).