Salmon and Mediterranean Potato Mash


Food photography has always been my thing. Not in a professional way, obviously, but over the years I often documented meals when we traveled. Then I would get home post-vacation and wonder why in the world I was keeping photos of meals I’d enjoyed, and get rid of them, especially in the pre-digital era.

What I’ve missed out on are not beautiful photos of pretty or unique meals, but the inspiration that these meals can offer. And memories as well.

Case in point, in 2012 my husband and I landed in Edinborough before beginning a magical 3-week trip around Scotland. That first night, in Edinborough, we chose a restaurant after I’d perused many menus, and this was my dinner.

It was grilled salmon over an lovely mash of potatoes served over pesto. It was exquisite. Somehow, even though this photo is terrible, I kept it.

If you haven’t been to Scotland, it’s everything and more than you expect. The scenery, the people, the history, the food. The seafood!

So there’s nothing especially unique about this meal, but it’s fabulous!

Salmon with Mediterranean-Inspired Potato Mash and Pesto Sauce
Serves 2

2 medium peeled starchy potatoes
4 ounces butter, cut into four pieces
1/4 cup heavy cream, or more if necessary
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 ounces chopped Kalamata olives, or to taste
1 ounce chopped sun-dried tomatoes, or to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 uniform filets of salmon
Garlic pepper or pepper
2 ounces pesto
2 ounces milk

Cut each potato into somewhat uniform pieces and place in boiling salted water to cook. When tender, drain in a colander, then immediately place in a large bowl. Add the butter and let melt. Then stir in the cream, garlic, salt and pepper, and mash the potato mixture. Add more cream if the mixture is stiff. Cover and set aside. (I used a very good garlic and herb butter.)

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the 2 filets and cook until some good browning occurs. Turn the filets over and reduce the heat to allow cooking on the other side. Cover the skillet with a lid to ensure that the salmon cooks though. Remove the skin from the filets while they’re in the skillet so you can season both sides with salt and pepper and brown under the skin. Keep warm.

To prepare the sauce simply mix the pesto with milk until the sauce is smooth.

To serve, divide the sauce on each of 2 plates. Using a ring mold, form 2 cylinders of potato mash and place each on the sauce.

Place the salmon filets to the side.

If desired, top with fresh chopped parsley and/or basil.

The combination is just wonderful!

You can place an amount of pesto on the plate and warm it, instead of the creamy pesto sauce. It’s whatever you prefer.

43 thoughts on “Salmon and Mediterranean Potato Mash

  1. Wonder recipe and lovely photos. I agree about Scotland. I was shocked at the friendliness of the Scots, how delicious the food was and the beauty of the country takes your breath away.

  2. salmon on mash was a big thing here about ten or more years ago. every cafe had it, and it was fabulous. i miss it! this sounds great and oh yes i adore scotland. my great granddad came from northern scotland.

    • Thanks Ron. Yes, a very simple meal with great flavors! I don’t think I’ve served potatoes with fish before? But maybe it’s because we don’t eat a lot of potatoes…

    • I discovered sea bream in Scotland. It probably has different names and maybe I’d had it before but it was also incredible. Fresh and fabulous!

  3. Ah you can’t beat salmon and a tasty mash to go with it. Especially if it’s a Scottish Salmon! Yum! Now I’m intrigued to know exactly where you ate when you were in Edinburgh. I’m only 45 minutes away here in Glasgow so it would be an easy enough visit!

    • Oh goodness, there’s no way I could remember. It was just a wall from our hotel which I also don’t remember. You’re so lucky to have great seafood, especially salmon. I remember discovering sea bream there. I’m sure it has different names in different places, but it was so good.

  4. Ah, I do love Scotland! Laura and I visited some number of years ago, and we’ve been talking about going back. This is a simple meal, but it is well presented – and I think I have all of the ingredients on hand to make it!

    • Very simple indeed. And great flavors. If you haven’t been, also check out Wales and Ireland. And England. Wow do I miss traveling!

    • I served smoked salmon on Thanksgiving morning. Made potato pancakes with lots of green onions and parsley, served with sour cream, purple onions and capers. Everybody thought it was odd, because there were no bagels or cream cheese. I thought it was a wonderful combination! Anyway, yes I also love salmon in all of its variations!

    • Thank you! I don’t know why I used to throw away the hard copy photos. I mean, a few photos never took up much room! But I’m glad I made this !

  5. This looks ridiculously good, Mimi! I also have a long history of taking food photos, and I like to come home from our wanderings and recreate (or sometimes even elevate) foods we enjoyed. Your presentation of this remake is spot-on beautiful!

    • Thank you Terrie! Traveling is so much about food for me, especially when it’s to more exotic places. We’ve missed out of those destinations these past two years, as has everybody, and I can’t wait to get out there again.

  6. What a terrific dish! Just a really nice meal. And one thing I’ve learned about food photography is the food styling (particularly the plating) is much, MUCH more important than the actual photography. Well, good light is important too — but if it doesn’t look good on the plate, you don’t have a photo. Your plating is great!

    • Thanks so much. I really don’t try to be a food stylist because first I’m just not. I really don’t have the patience and it requires a totally different set of skills in my opinion.

  7. How wonderful you were able to be inspired by an old food photo- goes to show you how powerful food memories are in our lives! Sometimes I think pesto is a bit too strong for me, but diluting it with some milk would suit me just fine!

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