Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Giada and Me: Salmon in Lemon Brodetto with Pea Puree

I got some cook books from the library the other day to get ideas for photographing food. Trying to teach myself "composition". I hastily grabbed a couple of Giada De Laurentiis' books and dashed out the door. I thumbed through them the other night and found this recipe for salmon. It looked so appealing I just had to add it to the menu for the week.

I'm not a big recipe kind of girl. I prefer the food talk to me and my imagination create the dish. Other than baking, I rarely use a recipe. Having this blog has been good for me. It makes me write down recipes I've come up with, so when I'm 80 years old and my kids are asking, "hey mom, how did you make your meatballs?" I can give them the recipe instead of pointing to my grey-haired noggin and telling them it's all "up here". Because we all know that won't be very reliable.

Initially, I was like, "What the heck is a Brodetto?" figuring it must be some Italian version of broth, I actually thought of tossing it out. Broth just doesn't sound very important. Boy was I wrong! And I also remembered my husband's deep love affair with broth, sauces or anything that adds moisture to a dish and I went ahead and made it. I am so glad I did.

How many of you love Top Chef? If you do, you will know when I talk about the "Pea Puree" debacle. That was my other reason for making this dish. What is the big deal with pea puree? Up in arms over pea puree! Pea puree, pea puree! They just kept talking about it. Did Alex really steal it? Is anyone going to address this? I couldn't figure out what was going on , so I had to make some myself. I guess the mystery will be revealed when they do one of their "Reunion Shows", which are always terribly juicy and usually involve some one's catch-phrase on a t-shirt. I would have to guess, it will be Kenny's "The Beast" pasted in big bold letters on a snuggly fit tee.

Anyways, that's how I got to this recipe and let me tell you, it was so amazingly delicious! We paid a lot for salmon this week. Don't quite know what got into us. We got up to that counter and just ordered a butt-load of salmon at 14.99lb. Eeek! No worries, we inhaled it...everyone, even my little Tiny. Thirteen months old today and eating salmon like it was going out of style. So cute. Just had to share, but this is him in his very first pair of walking shoes. He just started taking his first steps last thurs. I can't tell you what this does to a mommy's heart. Oh Lord!

he's so proud.

Back to the salmon. So here's the recipe. Now, I am giving it to you just as she wrote it, but I did not follow it exactly. It's against my nature, I guess.

*Left out the Parmesan in the pea puree, because for me, it just didn't sound good with the salmon.
*Cut the olive oil in half to 1/4 cup and the other 1/4 cup I used chicken broth. Just a big lighter.
*Used shallot instead of garlic in the pea puree.
*For seasoning the salmon, I always use a pinch on sugar with the salt and pepper.

Salmon in Lemon Brodetto with Pea Puree
by Giada DeLaurentiis

Serves 4

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 ounces)
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan


1/4 cup olive oil
4 (4 to 6-ounce) pieces salmon
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper


To make the Lemon Brodetto, warm the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute 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 with 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 chopped mint to the Lemon Brodetto and divide between 4 shallow dishes. Place a large spoonful of Pea Puree into the center of each bowl. Place a salmon piece atop each mound of Pea Puree. Serve immediately.

If you are looking for something different to do with your salmon this is the recipe for you. What I loved so much about it was the explosion of flavors. You have the buttery richness of the salmon, contrasted with the sweetness of the peas and the acidic broth cutting through it all to leave a lemony, minty lingering taste on your tongue. Truly wonderful.

Cheers, my dears!


  1. yum! I have such a craving for salmon this week!

  2. Looks yummy. I'm so not good at coming up with recipes. Still learning but you did a fine job with this.

  3. Top chef has ruined many phrases for me - "pea puree" has gone the way of "flavour profile" and "protein". I cringe when I hear them, but I can't stop watching!

    (Also, I can't believe Kenny is out before Alex! For shame!)

  4. Gorgeous! And Delicious! Great pic! Oh, Giada, why are you so good to me?

  5. I love Giada! This salmon looks so good!

  6. This looks great! Your son is adorable! I am a big library cookbook geek as well.

  7. I just found your blog tonight...and I'm loving it! You are adorable, your recipes are great, and your pictures are making me drool! Thanks for sharing this delightful salmon recipe!

  8. I just love Giada. Speaking of photo composition the photography on her show was one of the first things that made me fall for her when she started. So maybe it's perfect that you used one of her dishes to get a nice pic? Just a random, barely logical theory lol but the photo came out great and so did this post.

  9. looks incredible! def will try this salmon dish, fabbie pic too sweet bella

  10. Mmmmmmm! Will haveto give this a shot. I amost bought one of Giada's books a few days ago. Gorgeous shot, too!

  11. Looks fantastic, Lauren! Wish my hubby liked cooked salmon. One of my goals next year is to find a preparation he likes because I love the stuff! Love the photo of your little guy :-) Happy Sunday! OH - and thank you for the Tastespotting tip - I was glad to see why I'd been dinged. The other thing that helped was going back to a really old post on Annie's Eats and seeing how her photography has gone from bleech to incredible. Kateiscooking


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