So I felt just in spoiling myself for the rest of the day. I stopped at Whole Foods on the way home and bought some wild-caught sockeye salmon, some English peas and oyster mushrooms. (I also bought some Ciao Bella Chocolate Sorbet and Haagen-Daz Fleur de Sel Caramel ice cream, but that will be discussed in Part II another day). Then I stopped at my friend's garden and picked flat-leaf parsley and chives. I spied some nasturtiums and spontaneously picked a few. I had Yukon Gold potatoes at home; I was ready to cook.
The idea began with thinking of soft, easy-to-chew foods. My mind went immediately to mashed potatoes. Needing a protein, I thought of salmon, both for its pretty color and health benefits. The peas came along because I needed a veggie and some color. The mushrooms were a last minute addition because I saw them at the store and immediately decided their velvety quality would enhance the rest. Ta Da! The perfect dinner for after oral surgery, or anytime you would like some comfort - and comforting - food.
Mashed Potatoes, Salmon, Mushrooms and Peas
About 2 ounces Oyster Mushrooms
About 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 large handfuls of English pea pods (yields about 3/4 cup peas)
3/4 to 1 pound sockeye salmon filet
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
About 4 chives, snipped
Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Nasturtiums (if they happen to be around. They add a peppery bite)
Separate the oyster mushrooms from their thick, connected stem end. Roughly chop
and saute lightly in a nonstick skillet with olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside. No need to clean pan before using for salmon.
Place the salmon filet skin side down in same nonstick skillet. Add water to come about halfway up the side of the fish. Drizzle some olive oil in there. Throw in a few peppercorns and a few stalks of parsley and a sprinkle of salt. Simmer until edges begin to turn opaque. Carefully flip fish over and continue to poach in simmering liquid until just done. I like to keep the salmon very moist and undercooked a bit.
Meanwhile place potatoes in pot with salted water to cover and simmer vigorously until tender. About 2 minutes before they are done, throw in the peas. Drain potatoes and peas, reserving cooking liquid. Add potatoes and peas back to pot and mash, adding back some reserved cooking liquid, a good dose of olive oil, salt and pepper until they are a consistency you like. Fold in the mushrooms.
Place a nice mound of mashed potato mixture on a plate. Flake the salmon and scatter about. Sprinkle with herbs and garnish with nasturtiums, if you like. Eat with a spoon. It makes the dish even more comforting that way.