Grilled Salmon with Asparagus, Leeks, and Mushrooms

INGREDIENTS: 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 pound asparagus
1 large leek (white part only)
1/2 pound fresh morel or shiitake mushrooms
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup dry sherry or dry white wine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 salmon fillet
1 cup whipping cream

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Heat grill to medium-high (about 450 degrees). If broiling, turn on broiler to high.

2. Prep the veggies as follows:
Thyme: Separate thyme leaves from stems and give them a rough chop. Set aside.
Asparagus: Wash and cut off ends. Cut in half or thirds on the diagonal.
Mushrooms: Clean mushrooms with a damp cloth or rinse off. If using dried mushrooms, reconstitute them by soaking them in hot/simmering water for 7-8 minutes until softened then drain and squeeze excess water out of them. Slice mushrooms.
Leeks: Leeks are dirty little veggies, but I still love ‘em. I clean them by slicing them first (cut off the root then thinly slice until the part where the leek starts turning green. Don’t use the tougher green part for this recipe), then filling a sink or bowl with cool fresh water, adding the sliced leeks, separating the rings, and swishing them around in the water until clean. The dirt will go to the bottom and the leeks float on top. Scoop the clean leeks into a sieve, give them another quick rinse, and drain.

3. Fill a medium pot with water, bring to boil, and add asparagus. Boil until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Drain and rinse asparagus in cold water. Set aside.

4. In a large saute pan over medium heat, add butter and melt. Add leeks and saute for about 5 minutes until soft.

5. Add the mushrooms, chopped thyme, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Saute until mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes.

6. Add sherry to pan and cook for about 30 seconds. Turn off heat and set pan aside while you prep and cook the salmon.

7. Take a sheet of aluminum foil more than twice as large as the piece of salmon and fold it in half cross-wise. Make some slits in the foil with a knife about 2 inches apart. Oil one side of foil. Rub remaining oil to both sides of salmon and put salmon onto oiled foil, skin side down. Tip: Keep the whole thing on a cookie sheet to make it easy to transfer.

8. Add salmon with the foil side down onto the hot grill. Cover grill and cook until salmon is cooked through, 10-12 minutes. No need to flip to other side. Remove the foil and salmon onto a cookie sheet. If broiling in the oven, place on a sheet and place under broiler for 10-12 minutes.

9. Separate salmon from the skin using 2 spatulas. If you want to keep the salmon skin, put the foil with the skin back onto the grill and continue to cook it for a few more minutes until crisp, then separate the skin from the foil and place it on platter. Add salmon to the platter and tent it with foil while you finish the sauce.

10. Take the pan with the cooked leeks and mushrooms and put it back on to high heat. Add cream and asparagus. Bring cream to boil; once boiling, remove from heat.

11. Spoon half the vegetables over the salmon and serve the rest on the side. Serve.

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