Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Friends were coming for dinner and, of course, Richard was cooking. In the mood for salmon, he planned his menu… a lemon theme (we have a tree with a lot of lemons). While he was at the market I “prettied-up” the house, dressed the deck and dining room tables and picked a gazillion lemons.

The evening was beautiful so we all gathered outside on the deck by the pool. Candles on the table complemented the twinkling garden lights that reflected off the pool. A slight hum from the freeway sounded like ocean waves, so in my mind we weren’t on a cottage deck in the San Fernando Valley, but on the deck of a home on the beach in Malibu with lights flickering off the Pacific from a distant ship on its way to some far off exotic land. Oh, well, a girl can fantasize, right?

As we all caught up on our lives, liberties and pursuits of happiness, we sipped pinot noir and spread Blue Castello or wonderfully ripe brie on slices of baguette, then drizzled some of that white truffle oil on top that we still had from our Epicure Gourmet Warehouse sale ‘adventure.’ Also on our appetizer tray was a Patricia Wells’ tuna dip with lemon (recipe below) that Richard had made earlier that day which is easy, absolutely delicious AND inexpensive.

In the dining room, more candles glowed as Richard served his main course, the fabulous Giada De Laurentiis dish of salmon in lemon brodetto with pea puree (recipe below). A crusty loaf of bread was on the table for soaking up the broth. I love this dish and was hoping for leftovers. But there wasn’t a flake of salmon, a dab of pea puree or a drop of broth left.

For dessert Richard made Joan’s (of Joan’s On Third restaurant) lemon bars. You can find the recipe at Ms. Butterton’s wonderful food blog:    http://msbutterton.wordpress.com/

Dinner over, guests gone, dishes done and now in bed I drifted off to sleep feeling the ocean breeze sweeping through the window off my Malibu beach home deck. Oh, well, a girl can fantasize, right?


One 6-1/2 oz can tuna packed in olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
Freshly grated zest from one lemon
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons EVOO
½ teaspoon dried oregano
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1 plump fresh garlic clove, peeled

Breadsticks, crackers or toasted slices of baguette brush w/ EVOO for serving


Place tuna, including the oil, in a food processor.
Add remaining ingredients, except for bread, crackers, etc.
Process/blend until smooth and creamy
Transfer to bowl and serve or refrigerate.

If you refrigerate, remove one hour before serving and mix well.

This can be made up to 3 days before serving.


Lemon Brodetto

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, diced
2 lemons, juiced
1 lemon, zested
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves

Pea Puree

2 cups frozen peas, thawed (about 10 oz)
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
1 clove garlic
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup EVOO
½ cup grated Parmesan


¼ cup olive oil
4 (4 to 6 oz) pieces of salmon
freshly ground black pepper


To make the Lemon Brodetto, warm the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until tender (about 7 minutes). Add the lemon juice, zest, and broth. Bring to a simmer, and keep warm, covered, over low heat.

To make the Pea Puree, combine the peas, mint, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor and puree. With the machine running, add the olive oil in a steady drizzle. Transfer the pea puree to a small bowl and stir in the Parmesan. Set aside.

To make the Salmon, warm the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Season the salmon pieces w/ salt and pepper. Sear the salmon until a golden crust forms… about 4 to 5 minutes on the first side – flip the fish and continue cooking until medium-rare, about 2 minutes more depending on the thickness of the fish.

To assemble the dish, add the tablespoon of chopped mint to the Lemon Brodetto and divide between 4 shallow soup bowls or dishes. Place a large spoonful of Pea Puree in the center of each bowl, then place a salmon piece atop each mound of Pea Puree.

Serve immediately.
Richard made the Lemon Brodetto before our friends arrived and the Pea Puree earlier in the day which he refrigerated, then just heated up as he was making the salmon.


Lana said...

I really enjoyed reading this even though it's with a bit of embarrassment that I admit I don't like to eat fish. A Southern California-born gal and I don't like hardly any fish. I did have Salad Nicoise for lunch today, though. Tunafish will pass for me. ((:

Sandy Carlson said...

Holy Mother of God - this was to die for! I'm going to make it soon! What a fantastic meal! Thanks Ilona xo

saucyredhead said...

This reminds me of a fantastic salmon dish we had at Raincity Grill (undoubtly the best restaurant in the city) in Vancouver. It looked a lot like this too (Tommy "embarrassed" me out of taking a photo of it.) I'm definitely going to try this!