One of the perks of where we live is that it's incredibly close to a market so we always have access to very fresh produce including meat and fish.
The other day we got two salmon fillets and made this as a quick after work dinner. Apart from the butter it's very healthy. Always try to get fresh salmon, it's just so much nicer. I used New Zealand salmon which basically melted in the mouth, it was absolutely incredible and a vibrant natural colour. The crunch of the asparagus and the salty parmesan cheese were a lovely contrast to the buttery fish.
Crispy Skin Salmon with Asparagus Salad
2 pieces center-cut salmon fillet with skin, about 2-3 cm thick
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp whole tarragon leaves
2 bunches green asparagus, trimmed
1-2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2-3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
100g shaved parmesan
Salt and cracked pepper
To make the salad
Over moderately high heat, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the trimmed asparagus and cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes, only to take out the biggest crunch. You still want the asparagus to hold its shape and have a bite to it. Using tongs, transfer the asparagus to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain, pat dry and chop into 3cm pieces.
In a medium bowl, toss together the asparagus and vinegar. Drizzle the oil on top of the asparagus. Toss the cheese with the asparagus and season with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle the salmon with salt and pepper. Place skin side up and rub 1 1/2 tablespoons softened butter all over the skin of the salmon. Transfer the salmon, buttered side up, to a deep ovenproof dish. Chill in the fridge to firm the butter, about 10 minutes.
Preheat the grill to high.
Place the salmon about 10cm from the grill and cook until the skin is crispy and the fish is cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes.
In a small saucepan over moderate heat, whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, mustard and tarragon leaves. Divide the sauce between 2 plates and place 1 piece of salmon on top of each pool of sauce. Serve with the asparagus salad and enjoy the meal with a glass of wine and some candle light.