Columbia River Salmon On Smashed Root Vegetables with Wild Mushrooms

columbia river salmon finished

I use only sustainable fish if at all possible.   To help me with this, I go to the guidelines offered by the Monterey Bay Aquarium when purchasing fish.

Columbia River wild salmon is caught in the Columbia River in Washington state. These king salmon are wonderful fish. Caught by native Americans, the fish have a flavor similar to Copper River salmon. I e-mail my order in by 2:00 p.m. and receive the fish the next day via Federal Express. So the fish is caught on one day and arrives in my restaurant the very next day. I also use this same company for halibut as well as a wonderful variety of organically grown wild mushrooms.

The recipe below uses locally picked chanterelle mushrooms as well as trumpet and shiitake mushrooms which I purchase from our fish supplier in Washington state. You may have difficulty finding a variety of mushrooms, so feel free to use shiitake’s which can be purchased in almost any store.


  • six 6-ounce pieces of wild salmon skin removed, preferably King salmon
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped herbs of your choice  (avoid basil as it tends to discolor)

Root Vegetable Smash

  • 3 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups cauliflower
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • fresh herbs of choice
  • salt and white pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 3 cups of cleaned and sliced wild mushrooms of your choice
  • 2 teaspoons of unsalted butter
  • In this recipe, I used trumpets, chanterelles and shiitakes
  • Beurre Rouge
  • Red wine butter reduction sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups good quality red wine
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • a touch of salt and white pepper
  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into pieces
  • optional- 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch mixed
  • with 2 tablespoons water

Optional garnish

  • Grilled asparagus spears
  • Grilled baby bok choy


columbia river salmonColumbia River Salmon is one of the best fish we have had at the restaurant! With an oil content of 22 percent, it out ranks its popular cousin, the Copper River salmon, which comes in at 15 percent.

The salmon filets are large from these fish (about 8 pounds each!) We trim the belly fat from them, check for bones and make 6 to 7 ounce portions out of these magnificent filets. Home cooks can substitute Sockeye salmon and or halibut for this recipe.

Combine the olive oil, herbs, lemon and garlic. Brush on the salmon filets.

salmon on grillYou can grill the salmon outside over charcoal, inside if you have a grill attachment on your stove (such as a Jennaire) or in a grill pan. Heat the grill and when ready, add the salmon filets, flesh side down. Grill for several minutes, then turn slightly on an angle. Grill again for several minutes. Flip the fish and grill on the bottom (where the skin was) for several minutes. Tip – to ensure that the fish does not stick, spray the fish lightly with non stick spray such as PAM.

Grilled salmonIf the salmon filets are thick, you may need to finish them in the oven. If needed, place the salmon on a foil lined tray and bake in a 350 degree oven for just a few minutes to finish cooking. You can also undercook them a bit and place them on the foil lined pan. Cover them completely with foil so they do not dry out and place in a 200 degree oven for 10 minutes to keep them warm while finishing the dish. The steam from being in the foil will finish the fish. This is what we do in the restaurant to make sure the fish does not get overcooked.

Beurre Rouge Reduction – optional

beurre rouge 2If you like, you can finish this dish with a red wine butter (Beurre Rouge) reduction. This sauce can be made an hour ahead and kept in a small thermos kept in a warm place. To make sure the inside of the thermos is warm, put hot water in it then remove the water. This will heat up the inside of the thermos.

Place the red wine, honey, salt and white pepper in a small sauce pot. Reduce until syrupy. Be careful not to over reduce and burn the red wine reduction.

Slowly whisk in the cold butter a little at a time. If the sauce looks a bit thin, you can whisk in a drizzle of the cornstarch mixture to bind it. Be very careful not to boil this sauce or it will break. Place the finished sauce in the thermos and keep in a warm place (we put it above our stove on a ledge) until ready to use.

Mashed Root Vegetables

(can be made ahead and reheated in the microwave. Do not add the herbs or scallions until ready to reheat).

root vegetablePlace the yukon gold potatoes in a large pot. Add the stock and enough water to cover the potatoes. (The stock will give your mashed root vegetables added flavor). Boil until the potatoes are still cooked but getting tender. Add the additional vegetables and simmer until the potatoes and vegetables are tender. Drain.

Place in a large boil and use a hand held potato masher to roughly mash the mixture. Mash in the optional butter and season with salt and white pepper. Use immediately or cool and place in the refrigerator, covered, until ready to use. Reheat in the microwave and add chopped scallions and herbs right before serving.

chanterellesWe used locally picked chanterelles during the summer in this recipe. Because we had so much rain and heat this year, we experienced a bumper croup of chanterelles. To the right is a photo of just one picking we had.

To the right is a photo of the three types of mushrooms used in the photos for this recipe. We are able to purchase some terrific mushrooms from Washington State through our fish supplies, Foods in Season. To the right are our locally picked chanterelles, organic shiitakes and a trumpet mushroom.

Be careful when cleaning mushrooms that you do not get them too wet. We do rinse the wild mushrooms, but then dry them quickly and brush off any excess dirt. Remove any tough ends and slice them.

sauteed mushroomsWhen ready to serve the salmon, have the root vegetable heated, sauce ready in thermos (if using), salmon done and finish with by sauteing the mushrooms.

Place the butter in a saute pan and melt. Add the mushrooms and cook until just cooked through

beurre rouge root vegetablesPlace a mound of the warmed root vegetable mixture in the center six plates. If using, surround the root vegetables with some of the beurre rouge reduction.

Top the salmon with sauteed wild mushrooms.

finished salmon dishWe final garnish the dish with a piece of chopped baby bok choy and a few asparagus spears. An edible flower finishes the final presentation.



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