When the earth begins to wake up, spring delivers new textures, brilliant colors, and welcome fresh tastes. Meaty, nutty, woodsy wild morel mushrooms, gloriously green garden peas, and long slender mild leeks are three of the season's bounty that happen to be the best of friends. Add some healthy, omega rich organic pink salmon and a bit of French cooking ingenuity that includes white wine and creme fraiche, and this main course becomes a show stopping, relatively easy to prepare, dish worthy of Sunday brunch, Easter, and Mother's Day celebrations. We like to serve the fish with a mineral rich, balanced crisp Sancerre such as 90 Plus Cellars Bin 126 that balances the fatty salmon and the creme fraiche based sauce--we also encourage sipping a glass while preparing the meal, and chilling an extra bottle for sharing during the main meal.
cuisine French
difficulty Moderate
season Spring
serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

3 pounds salmon, skin on 1.7 ounces dried morel mushrooms, soaked in hot water 20 minutes Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1 tablespoon olive oil 3 cloves 1 cup leeks, sliced thinly, white and light green part only 1 cup garlic, minced 1 cup dry white wine 1 cup creme fraiche 2 tablespoons heavy cream 1 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed 1/4 cup petite peas, frozen

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Drain the morels and rinse under cold water to remove all grittiness. Pat dry with paper towels and set aside.
  3. Add the butter and the olive oil to a skillet. When melted, add the leeks and soften, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. 
  4. Add the white wine to the leeks and garlic and cook until reduced nearly completely. Add the creme fraiche, cream, lemon juice, a teaspoon of salt and a 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Stir until the mixture starts to thicken, 5 to 10 minutes. 
  5. Line a half sheet baking tray with parchment paper. Lay the salmon side on the paer and generously season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 8 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the salmon (the fish will continue to cook when removed from the oven but should be pink and a bit underdone when removed from the oven).
  6. Transfer the salmon to a serving platter.
  7. Add the morels and the peas to the creme fraiche mixture and then spoon the sauce over the salmon (pass the extra sauce at the table).
  8. Sprinkle the salmon with the freshly snipped chives and serve immediately.