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Late to the Party ~ Asparagus Salmon

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We found this extraordinarily impressive.

Asparagus Salmon

Recipe By: Michel Richard
Serving Size: 4

CUT BEFORE BAKING otherwise the cuts flake the fish and it looks ragged.
I cut the salmon from the end,  laid the salmon on one half and then folded it over.  Directions below describe a much more complicated process.  I think if i had a knife with double shape edges, the tunnel idea would be easy to execute.  Short of that, I’ll try either a boneing knife or a fish knife and try for a tunnel.
We really enjoyed this.  Without the asparagus stuffed, this is just ordinary excellent salmon.  Stuffed it is ordinary excellent salmon with WOW presentation.  Well worth the minimal effort if you knead or just desire WOW.

This is the first I’ve heard of Michel Richard who died in 2016.  Thomas Keller wrote the forward for this book.  Keller has tremendous praise for Michel Richard, so much so that I’m very sorry I didn’t come on to him much sooner.  The book is full of doable recipes that are WOW presentations, it also has many recipes that I would never attempt. But I love the book and would rate it 5 starts.

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* FOR THE VINAIGRETTE
* 4 asparagus spears, peeled, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
* 1/4 cup water
* 2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional to brush the salmon
* 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
* Juice of 1/2 lemon
* Pinch sugar
* Salt
* FOR THE SALMON
* 20 (24 ounces) equally sized asparagus spears, peeled
* 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped tarragon
* Salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1 (20 ounces) 8- to 9-inch-long skinless salmon fillet, preferably center-cut, pin bones removed

Directions:

1. For the vinaigrette: Combine the asparagus pieces, water and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the asparagus is tender, about 10 minutes. Let cool; transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Place in a bowl and add the mustard, lemon juice, sugar and the remaining olive oil. Season lightly with salt. Whisk until emulsified.

2. For the salmon: Have a large bowl of ice water ready.
I microwaved the asparagus for 3 minutes with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil.  When it is ready,  place it in the ice water to stop the cooking.
When cooled, remove from the ice water and lay the asparagus on a long piece of heavy plastic wrap. Sprinkle with the chopped tarragon, then season lightly with salt and pepper, rolling the spears to coat evenly with the seasonings.
If you make a tunnel through the salmon:  Bundle the spears so that half their tips point one way and half the other, and encase the asparagus in the wrap. Tie one end of the bundle with kitchen twine, and tether it to a table knife along its length.

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3. Place the fillet on a work surface and use a long, thin knife to cut a center pocket through to the other cut side. Work slowly and carefully. Essentially, you are cutting a tunnel through the length of the fillet, leaving at least a 1/2-inch wall uncut on each side.

4. Using the tethered table knife as a guide, carefully pull the asparagus bundle through the pocket. Unwind the ends of the plastic, slide the wrap from around the asparagus and discard. The salmon should now look like a stuffed log. Place it on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook.

5. Carefully cut the stuffed salmon log into four equal cross-sectioned pieces. If the log pieces are not tight, tie each one around the circumference with kitchen twine to hold it together. (Be sure to remove the twine after the fish is grilled.) Brush each piece with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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6. Bake the salmon 30 minutes at 400°.

7. Spoon some of the vinaigrette on the center of each plate. Using a wide spatula, carefully transfer the salmon pieces to individual serving plates. Serve with the remaining vinaigrette on the side.

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