- 1 to 1 1/2 lb salmon, with skin
- 1/4 cup salt
- 2 T. sugar
- 4 cups water
- 1 to 2 lb asparagus
- 4 T. olive oil
- 2 king oyster mushrooms (optional)
- 1/2 t. turmeric (optional)
- 1 T. butter (optional)
- Lemon zest for garnish
Start by dissolving the 1/4 cup salt and the sugar into the 4 cups of water.
Make sure there are no stray scales on the salmon skin. Remove the skin and wash it well. Coat it in salt and lay it flat in a container in the fridge for 4 hours.
Cut the salmon into serving pieces (a little larger than a deck of cards), and submerge in the salt-sugar brine. Refrigerate for 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of water (or, if you are not sealing the fish in a vacuum bag, 2 quarts of fish or chicken stock) to a simmer.
As the oven and the water or stock is heating, remove the salmon and the skin from the salt and brine and rinse them off well. Pat both dry and set aside.
Get a roasting pan large enough to hold the asparagus and the salmon skin. Toss the asparagus with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a little salt, then arrange the spears in one layer on the pan.
Coat the salmon skin in olive oil and place it skin side up (meaning the outside of the skin faces up) on another part of the pan. Roast both the salmon skin and the asparagus until done, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, turn off the heat on either the water or the stock. Generously coat the salmon in olive oil and seal in vacuum bags large enough to hold the fish in one layer, two pieces at a time. If you are using stock, just slide the salmon into the stock and cover the pot. If you are using the sealed bags, drop them into the hot water.
If you can find the king oyster mushrooms (good supermarkets have them frequently), slice the stalk -- this type of mushroom is basically all stalk -- into coins about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.
Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the mushrooms in one layer. Do not add any oil. Let them heat up, and they will give off their water and begin to brown a bit. Turn them over and repeat. When you see they have all given off water and are starting to brown on both sides, add the butter and the turmeric, plus a little salt. Saute the mushrooms for 2-3 minutes more and turn off the heat.
Everything should be ready at about the same time. To assemble, lay down some roasted asparagus spears and top with a piece of salmon. Slip a few mushroom coins underneath on the side of the asparagus. Top the salmon with a square of crispy salmon skin. Garnish with a few slivers of lemon zest.
A Riesling or Italian Vermentino white wine would be perfect here, as would a Sauvignon Blanc.