Braised Salmon with Mushrooms, Potato Purée and Watercress: Guest Post by Crazy Foodie Stunts #SeafoodWeek

Braised Salmon with Mushrooms, Potato Purée and Watercress, this recipe is spectacular. A bit of work but totally worth the effort. Try it for yourself!

Braised Salmon with Mushrooms, Potato Purée and Watercress by Crazy Foodie Stunts

Today I have the distinct pleasure of welcoming my good friend DB back to Cravings of a Lunatic. DB blogs at Crazy Foodie Stunts, and is a very dear friend of mine. I adore this man’s perspective on food so very much. He is constantly challenging himself to try new things, and explore new culinary worlds. I really dig that about DB.

You may remember DB, he’s been around the blog a time or two. I like him so much I keep inventing him back. A couple of years ago he guest posted for me while I drove out to the wild west with my family. He made Homemade Granola and it was freaking amazing. I also featured DB on my Burning Down The Kitchen Series, and I made his Bucatini All’Amatriciana. It was so crazy good I’ve actually made it a handful of times. DB also invited me to be his guest on his new series, “Adding Some Class with”. I happily made some Crème Brûlée for him, that’s about as classy as this chick gets.

I am absolutely thrilled DB agreed to swing by this week with a recipe. This man is welcome on my blog, and in my kitchen any old time he likes. Hoping we get a chance to meet this summer. I’m trying to talk him into bringing the family to Florida for a conference. I always hear about his family on his blog, and Facebook so it would be so nice to meet them. I am really hoping we can both work it out to go to the Food & Wine Conference. I’m sure it would be a ball, tons of food bloggers, and all our Sunday Supper peeps in one place. That’s just too much foodie excitement for this gal.

Now while I go lounge about on my week off, I welcome back my good friend, DB. Please treat him like family, I mean that’s what us foodies are really. One big, giant, happy, well-fed family.

Seafood Week

Hello fellow Cravings of a Lunatic readers! My name is DB, but I’m also known as Foodie Stuntman. You may have gotten a little more familiar with me over the course of the last couple of months because Kim featured me on her Burning Down The Kitchen series in January and then in February I asked Kim to be my inaugural guest in my Adding Some Class with… series where I invite fellow bloggers to demonstrate why I love reading them.

A central theme between these two exchanges is that I thrive on food that challenges me in some way, so I knew I had to bring my “A Game” when I volunteered to guest for her here, so I thought I’d use this opportunity to bring you into my world. Since I referred to The Flavor Bible and Think Like A Chef when Kim interviewed me, I used the two books to create a dish.

Since Kim had requested a seafood dish, I was originally thinking cod partially because it had yet to appear on my website but I had some difficulty with the flavor profiles The Flavor Bible was giving me. Mrs. Stuntman suggested salmon but I was initially reluctant because it’s so common until I found the flavor affinity of salmon, potato and watercress. Mushrooms were also highly recommended.

One of the reasons I chose this dish is because it’s an unusual cooking technique, given the protein. Normally braising is used to break down tough cuts of meats such as beef short ribs, lamb shanks and pork shoulder but salmon doesn’t meet this criteria, so it’s preparation method appealed to me. In addition, the mushrooms that accompanied the salmon took considerable attention, but I welcomed the work.

Like I said: A-Game.

Despite my efforts, I feel the dish could have been better. I’ll go over these issues later because any discussion of them would be pointless without the recipe, but first my challenge. In each of my dishes I publish, I always set out with something I want to achieve so…

The Challenge

Prepare a seafood dish with a fine dining presentation to demonstrate my technique-driven philosophy.

The Source

For the mushrooms and salmon, I used the recipes from pages 110 and 113 through 115 of Think Like A Chef by Tom Colicchio with Catherine Young, Lori Silverbush and Sean Fri. I adapted the purée from Cooking Channel’s website and the watercress from Food & Wine.

Braised Salmon with Mushrooms, Potato Purée and Watercress Collage by Crazy Foodie Stunts

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Braised Salmon with Mushrooms, Potato Purée and Watercress
Braised Salmon with Mushrooms, Potato Purée and Watercress, this recipe is spectacular. A bit of work but totally worth the effort. Try it for yourself!
For the mushrooms:
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 2 pounds wild assorted mushrooms (I used cremini, shiitake and oyster), cleaned, trimmed and sliced thickly
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped plus 1 whole clove garlic, divided
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves plus 2 sprigs fresh thyme, divided
  • 2 leeks, white part only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 sprigs fresh Italian parsley
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
For the watercress:
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch watercress
For the purée:
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 tablespoon pieces
  • Freshly ground black pepper
For the salmon:
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 6-ounce center-cut salmon fillets , about 1½ inches thick
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 recipe mushrooms (This will become clearer in the method below)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  1. Pan roast the mushrooms: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once it shimmers across the pan, add some mushrooms so that they loosely cover the bottom of the pan. (Do not overcrowd the pan-you will not use all of the mushrooms, yet.) Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper, then allow them to cook for approximately 2 minutes, turning them as they brown in the pan. Add some (but not all) of the shallots, butter and thyme to the pan and continue to cook until the mushrooms are tender, approximately 2 additional minutes. Remove the mushroom mixture to a paper towel lined plate, then wipe out the pan once cool enough to handle. Repeat the process, in batches, until all the mushrooms have been roasted.
  2. Marinate the mushrooms: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat until it shimmers and slides easily across the pan. Add the leeks, carrots and celery, then season the mirepoix with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetable begin to soften, approximately 10 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaf and coriander until the vegetables are completely soft, an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Add the pan-roasted mushrooms to the pan and season again with pepper. Then add the vinegar, chicken stock, thyme sprigs and parsley. Simmer for a minute or two to blend the flavors, then add ¼ cup olive oil. Remove the skillet from heat and cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Prepare your sides while the mushrooms are marinating.
  3. Prepare the vinaigrette for the watercress: In a medium bowl, add the 3 tablespoons olive oil and lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Prepare the potatoes: Place the potatoes in a large saucepan, then fill it with water to cover them completely. Season the water with salt, then bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer until the potatoes are tender, approximately 30 minutes. While the potatoes are simmering, combine the milk, garlic, bay leaf and thyme in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-low heat. Once the milk has reached a boil, remove from heat, and cover so that the herbs steep in the milk for 10 minutes. Once finished, remove the garlic, bay leaf and thyme and discard. Once the potatoes are tender, drain the water and peel them while they're still hot. Cut the potatoes into manageable pieces, then pass them through a food mill at it's smallest setting over a large pot. Re-fire the milk over medium-low heat. Beat in the butter, one piece at a time then slowly add the milk until each addition is adsorbed before adding more until the puree is fine. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary.
  5. Braise the salmon: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it slides easily across the pan. Season the salmon with salt and pepper, then add the fillets to the pan, seasoned side down. Cook the salmon for approximately 3 minutes until browned, adjusting the heat so the oil does not smoke, if necessary. Remove the fillets to a plate and wipe out the skillet. Return the skillet to the stovetop over medium heat. Add the chicken stock and reserved marinated mushroom mixture, then the salmon, cooked side up into the braising fluid. Simmer, basting periodically, until the salmon is cooked through, approximately 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the salmon to the plate, then stir butter into the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Finish the dish: Whisk the vinaigrette and toss with the watercress bunch. To plate, spoon some purée onto the plate, then top with mushrooms. Stack the salmon fillet on top of the mushrooms and garnish with the watercress.
Recipe credit to Crazy Foodie Stunts, adapted from from these sources:

Think Like a Chef

Food & Wine

Cooking Channel


In a word, no. I ran into issues marinating the mushrooms. As I was cutting my leeks, I noticed there was a lot. I was even supposed to include a small chopped onion in the mirepoix but I omitted it because I was going to have a difficult time fitting all of the vegetables into my pan as it was. Additionally, I was unsatisfied with the shape of my fillets. I didn’t realize they were so narrow until I got home with them and didn’t have time to return them.

Regardless of the dish, I’d like to thank Kim for having me back. It certainly was a pleasure to be here.

DB of the Foodie Stuntman

A huge thank you to DB for coming to my aid once again. It’s so nice to be able to count on my foodie friends when I need to step away from the blog for a bit. You always bring your A-game, each and every time. I happen to love salmon, it’s once of those dishes that impresses every single time. I grew up fishing. and salmon was one of my Dad’s favourites so we ate a lot of it. It’s still one of my favourites today.

More embarrassing fishing photos courtesy of my painful past, I mean, my youth:

Kim Fishing

Um, er, ah, there’s no explanation for the hair. Or the outfit. Or the shoes.

Proof that we just keep reeling in every generation to the canoe traditions:

B-Dude at Algonquin Park

That young hooligan by the canoe is my son, B-Dude. Every where we go there must be canoes. And bad fashion sense. Who dressed this kid? Or yah, that was me. My bad!

Today I actually did some stuff around the house. And by “did some stuff around the house” I mean got out of bed and took a shower. At this rate I’m sure all the reno projects will done by, oh, say, next March. I am thoroughly enjoying my time off though.

The plan for my week off was to build a custom pantry. We tore down a wall in the fall, that lead to some rearranging of the house. We have a long wall we’ve reserved for a giant wall of shelves. I need more pantry space for all my mason jars. So we decided to build some storage. We are even making a sliding barn door that will hide the jars, but also double as a privacy door for the hallway that leads down the bedrooms, and bathroom. When we made the house open concept we realized anyone can see all the way to the back of the house from the entrance. So sneaking out of bed with no makeup on when you have house guests becomes impossible. Hence the impending barn door.

However when I booked this week off I didn’t realize my daughter, mini-me, was going to be writing exams. You cannot build a wall that requires tons of banging and crashing when a University student is studying for mid-terms. So my week off was ill-timed. Never one to turn down a golden opportunity I’ve dubbed this week “Kim’s week-o-rest”. So far it’s going swimmingly. Hopefully next month’s week off is timed a bit better.

Make sure you swing my DB’s blog, Crazy Foodie Stunts. While you’re there make sure you follow him. You can also stalk him on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. He’s a great guy to stalk. He’s always making amazing recipes. Stalk your way to a full belly!

Seafood Week continues tomorrow with another amazing recipe. Keep tuning in all week.

Other Seafood Week Posts:

Movita Beaucoup’s Lobster Pasta Salad

Cooking in Stilettos’ Coconut Almond Crusted Cod

Dinners, Dishes and Desserts Brown Butter Seafood Risotto

This post contains affiliate links. Any purchases made through them is appreciated. It helps support my websites and the free content I provide. Thank you for your support and help along the way.

Toodles and smoochies! xx

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    • Kim Beaulieu says

      I know right. I have some pretty awesome friends. Now if I could just wrangle them up for gardening season.

      I would totally love this dish. Salmon is so amazing. One of my favourite fish dishes.

    • Kim Beaulieu says

      Ha, I love that you agreed to help out. I adore you and your blog. I cannot wait to meet you and your family this summer. xx

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