A Vineyard Lunch
There are few things so pleasant as a picnic lunch eaten in perfect comfort.
Nothing is more pleasant than a carefree picnic. The only the thing I would add to novelist W. Somerset Maugham quote above are the words ‘in a vineyard’ tucked onto the end. Last weekend we gathered together with friends, both old and new, to enjoy a vineyard lunch at Four Graces Winery. The day could not have been more perfect, temperatures hovered in the mid 70’s as the sun shined and the sounds of merriment echoed through the vines.
Spring brings hope, gaiety and laughter. Like the buds on grapevines, we emerge from winter’s dormancy thirsting for sunshine and eager to reconnect. The air perfumed by fragrant Dutch hyacinths and Persian lilies. The long days encourage us to dawdle leisurely at the table, conversing lightheartedly into the fading sunlight. Perfect is a vineyard picnic in the spring.
Pacific Northwest King Salmon
The theme of our picnic pop up was foods and wines from the Pacific Northwest. One of the stars of the day were the filets of spring run Columbia River king salmon stuffed with wild ramps, conica morels and greens picked earlier that morning, served with a spruce tip aioli I actually forgot to serve but enjoyed later
The dish is fairly easy to make, though it may sound complicated and time-consuming. Try making this king salmon dish this holiday weekend and be sure to hashtag us at #PistouAndPastis We love to see YOUR creations.
grilled Salmon Noisettes
The perfect spring salmon dish to enliven your meal and celebrate spring with.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 Walla Walla sweet onion chopped
- 1 pound greens see recipe notes
- 1/2 pound morels, or other mushrooms sliced
- 1/2 lemon zested and juiced
- 1 side wild king salmon skinned and pinboned
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped
- to taste salt and pepper
Melt butter in a large saute pan. When foaming, add chopped onion and saute till translucent, about five minutes.
Add mushrooms and saute for five minutes till cooked.
Chop greens finely and add to onions and mushrooms, continue to cook till wilted, about three minutes.
Squeeze lemon juice and add zest, adjust seasoning then set aside to cool slightly.
Lay the salmon out on a piece of plastic wrap. Cover with another piece of plastic wrap. Lightly pound the salmon with a meat mallet, or bottom of a heavy saute pan to flatten slightly. The goal is to make the salmon have an equal thickness.
Season with chopped thyme, sea salt and black pepper.
Lay the greens and mushroom filling over one third of the salmon and roll into a log.
Tie the salmon with kitchen twine like the picture shows.
Cook salmon over a hot grill till done. I would guess it takes approximately ten minutes to cook. The salmon should be served slightly rare in the center.
Slice between the strings, remove strings with a pair of scissors and arrange on a platter. Serve with spruce tip aioli.
Greens: I used a combination of wild ramps, red veined sorrel and kale that was growing in my yard. Use what you can find, things like wild spring onions, farmed spring onions or simply kale work great.
Mushrooms: While nothing will replace the earthy, distinct flavor of morel mushrooms do not let the lack of stop you from preparing this dish. You can substitute white button mushrooms, maitake mushrooms or another other fungi that suits your fancy.
Salmon: Pin bones are easily removed using a pair of needle nose pliers to pull them. They extend from the head side of the salmon approximately one third of the way down the fillet. I recommend only wild salmon for this dish, well for anything. Farmed salmon lacks the flavor that wild has and is a poor substitute.
Culinary Adventures: Eat like a local
Scenes from our vineyard lunch at Four Graces Winery. If you would like to attend our next picnic or want to go on an incredible culinary adventure with us to France, then go to our web page and subscribe to our blog Pistou and Pastis, an Edible Love Letter to the South of France.
Spruce Tip Aioli
A Pacific Northwest inspired aioli that will tickle your tastebuds and surprise your palate with it's brightness.
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup wild spruce tips see recipe notes
- 1 cup mild Olive Oil
Put egg yolks, vinegar, salt, and spruce tips into the bowl of a food processor and puree.
With the motor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil till thick like a Mayonnaise. While the aioli is delish right away, the flavors marry and improve with time. Try letting sit overnight.
Spruce Tips: The piney - citrus flavor marries well with grilled salmon, artichokes, chicken and many other things. Wild spruce tips grow in spring and are the new growth on spruces. They are very light green and tender.