Salmon and Mash

32 Comments

When my husband and I were in Edinburgh last year, we had some spectacular meals. Being that there is no fresh salmon in the middle of the United States where I live, I jump at every chance to enjoy fish and seafood that’s only hours out of the sea. So in Scotland, I ate a lot of salmon.

At one restaurant, this is what I ordered. It’s not the best photo, but it was grilled salmon sitting on a bed of potato mash, on top of a pesto sauce.

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The salmon was perfectly cooked and delicious, but what got me most excited was the potato mash. It was full of chunky pieces of Kalamata olives and sun-dried tomatoes! I’ve added things to mashed potatoes before, like chorizo and corn, but I’ve never made them Greek or Mediterranean style. But now I do!

In the 80’s, nouvelle cuisine was all the rage, and it seemed like every recipe in Gourmet and Food and Wine Magazine had sun-dried tomatoes and pesto in the list of ingredients. Being a bit on the obstinate side, I refused to use these ingredients in my cooking.

But over the last 30 years I’ve mellowed a bit, and honestly, I love sun-dried tomatoes. They have a delicious flavor that is different from even a roasted tomato. And traditional pesto? Love it! I make huge batches of pesto every summer because I can grow trees of basil where I live.

If you’ve never made pesto before, here is the link to making it in mass quantities.

But back to my meal. I recently came across the above photo of my meal, and I decided to recreate it, mostly so I can have the delicious mashed potato side again. Hope you like it too!

Grilled Salmon served with Mediterranean-Style Mashed Potatoes and Pesto Sauce

2 pounds white potatoes, I left mine unpeeled
4 ounces of halved Kalamata olives
4 ounces sun-dried tomato pieces*
1 tablespoon dried sweet basil
1 stick butter, at room temperature, or chopped into pieces
1/2 cup or more goats’ milk
4 salmon filets, rinsed, patted dry
Garlic Pepper
Salt
1/3 cup pesto, without cheese, or about 1 cup purchased pesto

Mash
Place a large pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil. Meanwhile, chop up the potatoes into fairly small, uniform pieces. When the water is boiling, add the potatoes and cook them until tender.

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Meanwhile, place the olives and sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl and add the sweet basil.

When the potatoes are tender, drain them in a colander, then quickly turn them into a large bowl. Add the butter and about 1/2 cup of goats’ milk, and mash the potatoes up with a potato masher, gradually incorporating the butter and milk.

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Then add the olives, sun-dried tomatoes and basil, and fold them in gently. Add a little more goats’ milk if necessary. Set aside, but cover to keep warm.

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Salmon
Heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 filets at a time and cook the first side at least 1 minute; the salmon should be nicely browned. Turn the filets over, reduce the heat, and cook them for about 5 minutes, until done through. Of course, the cooking time will depend on how thick your salmon filets are.

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Keep the two filets warm while you cook the remaining two.

Pesto Sauce
Warm your pesto (remember mine contains no cheese) and thin with a little bit of goats’ milk. (See note below.)

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To serve, using a ring, form the potato mash into a cylindrical shape.

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Then gently and carefully place the cylinder of mash by pushing slightly onto one of four serving plates.

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Carefully drizzle the thinned pesto sauce around the base of the potato mash, then top the mash with the grilled salmon. Continue with the remaining three servings.

* For this recipe, I used halved sun-dried tomatoes that were preserved in oil, and drained the oil first before using. If you only happen to have sun-dried tomatoes in a package, they can easily be hydrated in warm water. It only takes about 5 minutes – just make sure they’re chewable before draining them, then proceed with the recipe.

note: You don’t have to use goats’ milk at all for this recipe. Regular cream is fine, or milk if you prefer. I just happen to love the flavor of goats’ milk and it adds a goat cheese flavor, which is lovely in mashed potatoes.

another note: I had some of these mashed potatoes left over, and when I reheated them the next day, they didn’t taste as good. There’s something about reheated Kalamata olives that I didn’t like, but I can’t figure out why.

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verdict: I will definitely be making this style of mashed potatoes again. They’re indescribably good, and not pretentious. Cheers to sun-dried tomatoes and pesto!!!

32 thoughts on “Salmon and Mash

  1. Living in New England, we are fortunate to have fresh salmon in our markets. I can’t wait to try it with the unusual mash…it’t combination must go so well with the salmon.

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  2. Looks really tasty. I’m always looking for new ways to serve the trusty salmon. I join you in cheering for sun dried tomatoes and pesto!

    Like

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