Announcing our Holiday Open House

Visitors stop by after seeing our new hand painted sign, "What's Girl and the Dirt?" they want to know, "Is that naked lady you?", "Where's the dirt at?". 

Housed in the same building as Rock Island Communications and Orcas Rental & Saw, we bring a much needed feminine touch to the block. The yellow and orange leaves of our neighbors' trees stand out sharply against the dark-blue mountains of Moran, covered in mist and fog. Each trip outside to grab a bin of fruit out of the walk-in hammers home how lucky we really are. This kitchen shakes with low flying biplanes but with solid beams of cedar, we aren't afraid. Close to our little village, Eastsound, it's an inspiring space that we can't wait for you to experience for yourself.

Just in time for the holidays, we are opening our doors and 'spreading' holiday cheer.  This is your chance to see exactly where our product is prepared, by hand. (Yes, really, the whole process, from chopping fruit to labeling jars, is done by hand, in this kitchen.) You’ll also be able to visit our retail corner, Handpicked, and taste the exquisite product we’ve been putting away all season in our gorgeous copper pots. See what we’ve been up to and the new space we are happy to call home. 

steam from jam

Girl Meets Dirt Preserves are the perfect gift or stocking stuffer for that culinary minded friend, picnic basket toting couple in love, maven of holiday entertaining or anyone who enjoys something delicious and a little sweet. We'll also have hand-made cheese boards & more from Orcas Workshop, San Juan crafted linen kitchen aprons, and gorgeous cheese knives of local salvaged steel and island wood. 

kitchen knives

Follow the twinkling lights and warm glow on December 3rd to stock up on your favorite Girl Meets Dirt preserves, libations from our local distillery, and come celebrate with us!  

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Marmalade Matrons: How to stay cozy this winter with quince

There is no fruit growing in this Land that is of so many excellent uses as this, serving as well to make many dishes of meate for the table, as for banquets, and much more for the Physicall vertues
— 1629, John Parkinson, the Covent Garden based herbarist to James I

As the rainy season descends upon us, and the darkness begins to outweigh the light, what could be more important on our sweet island than to stay cozy?  We can think of two enticing ways to enjoy these newly chilled evenings, and they both involve quince.

Originating in the birthplace of humanity, the fertile crescent, quince is an ancient fruit.  Spreading in popularity from Asia Minor to the balmy Mediterranean, it quickly became a favorite of the Greeks and the Romans. 

quince on platter

In the same family as apples and pears (genus Cydonia), and predating these popular cousins, quince was likely the fruit tempting Eve in the Garden of Eden and the gift Paris gave to the goddess of love herself, Aphrodite.  The Greek wedding gift of choice, young brides were said to have nibbled the fruit before they entered their marriage chamber to sweeten their kisses.

It's no wonder with its plump form and succulent smell that quince became associated with love and sensuality.  Or perhaps it is the soft down fuzz that covers its ripe flesh -- begging for petting and caressing.  Virtually inedible raw, Nigel Slater calls it, "the cooks fruit: one for the kitchen rather than the fruit bowl...".  (Ripe, p, 436)  And what a beautiful cook it can be, the golden ripe skin breaking down under heat and transforming into magnificent crimson -- like a blushing bride flushed with excitement. 

But why stop there? Ever heard of the Marmalade Madames?  If you've ever found yourself wandering through the red light district of seventeenth century London, you'll know that these ladies of the night were aptly named by the aphrodisiac fruit itself.  Where do you think Christina and “Lady Marmalade” got their know how?  "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)?" anyone?  From the Portuguese word for quince, "marmello", marmalade was originally made from the juice, skins and fruit of quince.  Working with its high levels of naturally occurring pectin, the ancients cleverly noticed that drenching whole quince in honey and applying heat would develop a delicious and firm 'set'.  Viola, the birth of marmalade - long before the California orange.

Continuing the tradition, this year's batch of Girl Meet's Dirt's handmade, island grown, Quince Marmalade is juicier than ever and beautifully bright red to boot!  Sweetened within its own juices and packed with vitamin C, it's the perfect remedy for the winter blues.  It is positively delightful as a topping on toast or folded into a buttery tart shell.  But we love it on Manchego, Cheddar, Idiazabal, or any triple-creme for a guest worthy spread (delice de Bourgogne for a special treat).

All those fans of our Quince Cutting Preserve will be thrilled to see it back in stock and ready for spreading on your holiday cheese boards.  Hello holiday entertaining season!  We recommend quince with aged Manchego (quince love’s sheep’s milk!), Beecher’s Flagship Cheddar, Parmigiano Reggiano, or Glendale Shepherd's Woodsman aged hard sheep's milk cheese (on Whidbey Island).

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Whatever way you choose to stay cozy this winter, may we recommend enjoying it with a side of quince?  It will leave you blushing with delight.

Each tree

Laden with fairest fruit, that hung to th’ eye

Tempting, stirr’d in me sudden appetite

To pluck and eat.
— John Milton, Paradise Lost (bk. VIII, l. 30)

The Circle called Life

My son is here.  

That deserved its own line.  And lots of space to exhale.  And inhale.  And exhale again. 

My son is here.  In fact he's been here for 6 months, & 10 days already.  This post is long overdue - after a very long (and wonderful, and crazy-good) ellipsis - but I felt I needed to pencil in the arc on this particular circle of life-- our son, Life Aloysius Lawlor, born on December 22nd, 2014, at 9:36pm, a few days before his Christmas due date.   

Satya Curcio Photography

Satya Curcio Photography

He arrived with little fanfare, other than a strange dream involving a mouse and the waking gush of my waters breaking, early on the Winter Solstice.  After a slow, drudging labor of over 40 hours, after I said mercy, at 38 hours in, numb me, induce me, he arrived.  I don't know what his plans would have been otherwise.  He wanted to come on his own time, slowly but surely, backwards or forwards with intense back labor, with the greatest pain I have ever experienced.  After an encounter with Pitocin, an epidural, and even a brief nap (modern medicine is truly something to behold) the joy of our lives alas, came quickly after 20 minutes of pushing, with the cord wrapped snug around his neck, three times.  As the doctor unwound, once, and then twice, winced, and then the third time - and laid him against my breast, we cried, and cried as he suckled.

Satya Curcio Photography

Satya Curcio Photography

Life -- named for a string of long-ago ancestors on his maternal grandfather's side, with initials honoring his paternal grandfather -- was surrounded by loved ones:  Daddy, my mother, father, a dear friend and acting doula.  We ate Chinese and welcomed a late night visit from special friends passing through en route to the island from California.  I posed for pictures with the doctor, baby tucked in - so ecstatic I didn't realize till I processed them that my bosom was also completely on display - the widest of possible grins across my face.  The pain, the work, the bending, the arcing, the panting, the showering, the bathing, the squatting, bouncing, hoisting -- the endurance of the past 40 hours was somewhere far, far away.  

Satya Curcio Photography

Satya Curcio Photography

I summon it occasionally, in remembrance, in honor really, of all the women.  All the women.  I have cycled for over 11 hours over three mountain ranges in the Pyrenees, racing the clock and exhausting every last bit of my energy - legs, arms, back, body, mind, seething.  That had nothing on laboring to bring a child into this world.  Nothing.  Women are infinitely strong creatures.  Labor, is just one manifestation of this.  But my laboring, which began so many years ago, which built this business, manifested in this one perfect, smiling muse, and birthed a love I have never felt before.  It was infinitely painful; and infinitely worthwhile.  

It's hard to say more.  I am grateful to have joined the legions of my sisters, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, friends, ancestors who have brought life into this world, or nurtured it.  I am also deeply mindful of the women wanting to do so, struggling to do so, or who have decided it is no longer in their best interest to do so.  This could have gone so many other ways for us.  But for whatever reason, it went this way.  This beautiful, mysterious, challenging way we call motherhood. 

On his first ferry ride home, we were greeted by a rare courting of Orca whales just off Shaw Island.  I have thought for months this was a good omen for Life- being greeted by these stunning creatures, just hours after his encounter with the outside world.  But it's dawning on me as I write this, that these matriarchal creatures may have also been welcoming me as I immersed myself in this new journey --another arc in this beautiful circle we call Life.  My son bears witness to this.  To the seasons changing - to barren branches, to buds, to blossoms, to fruit - to the harvest, that I thought would never come.  

My son is here.  

Satya Curcio Photography

Satya Curcio Photography

Becoming Mrs. Lawlor

I spent the better part of the morning lingering over words.  Old words.  Words I’d written over the past three years; words that dripped occasionally, like an abandoned leaky faucet, but coursed through my veins like a waterfall.  It’s difficult to take a walk down memory lane, when the memories can be so intense and painful.  I’ve read a bit about traumatic experiences lately, and learned that walking down memory lane, summoning old feelings, dousing oneself with old expired flames, can be just as traumatic as the original experience.  But yet I can’t help the urge to analyze, and ponder over the state I was once in.  Pain can give birth to things, beautiful and raw-- or terrible and stale.  My pain birthed new life, in me, and in my relationship with my husband.  Our pain, I should say.  

I read back to something I wrote after my first miscarriage.  I irrationally feared "an endless string of miscarriages".  And the most heartening, the fear that I was not successfully achieving pregnancy because "there was something else I was supposed to be doing" - like fate pressing down on my soul.  And then I think of that seemingly endless string of losses, that I am sorry to say, I did walk through.  And I think of all that I ended up ‘getting done’.  I think of Girl Meets Dirt, once just a little notion in my head, a cheeky little phrase to accompany my writing.  I stand in my storage room and marvel at the endless boxes, labeled and ready to be tucked into, all made by my hands, conceived in my mind, during a time where pain was my most intimate friend.  I gave birth to something while struggling to stay pregnant all these years: I gave birth to a new vision of myself, someone who was finally rooted, engaged in an enterprise that enlivened the soul, rather than deflated it. 

My second loss paralyzed me.  The words I scribbled down back then were laced with confusion, sadness, and the threat of depression:

"so much can happen in one week. they tell you your baby has not progressed. a deep moan wells up inside of you. a little piece of your heart cracks. you see fissures everywhere; this cannot be. again. you waited 8 long months for the hope of a January baby, snow bunny, beacon in the dark, and then the light went out. you grappled, scrounged, clawed your way up and 7 more long months later, over analyzing your eating habits, running habits, sexual intercourse habits, fell pregnant once a wonderful time again. but so much can happen in one week. for 7 months, nothing, and then a brief sojourn with warm summer trade winds makes everything even keeled again.

you are losing this baby is deafeningly still. you hear the rumble of each ferry, shuffling people forward or backwards, returning to something, someone...or leaving... I cannot tell any longer whether they are coming or whether they are going. long stretches of silence, and then a rumble. the enormity of winter aches in my bones."

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I stopped writing for a long time after that.  I couldn’t be authentic without expressing what was so deeply burrowed under my skin, and threatening to define me.  And then we had a third loss, and somehow I found a sliver of my voice again, cracking amidst the weeds.  I threw myself into the garden, into springtime and seedlings and baby chickens and promise.  I cleansed in Mountain Lake, after running furiously around it, sweating out my demons.  I thought optimism was the goal, the magic pill for a better outcome.  I thought: just get through this, things will look up.  And I almost believed it.  Until our 4th loss two days before my little sister’s wedding.  How does one describe what it feels like to be crushed under the weight of your own anxiety?  We had no choice but to step away.  The doctors could give us no answers and we were not prepared to forge on.  We were no longer strong.  It was time to heal, or try to.  We spent 6 months actively preventing pregnancy, which, if you’ve ever grappled with infertility or pregnancy loss, is an almost inconceivable predicament.  But we knew that we couldn’t get pregnant again.  At least not yet.  We had work to do.

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It was during this time that I launched Girl Meets Dirt Archipelago Preserves.  I put my head down and my chin up and built a business from scratch - hand picked fruit, sugar, and a squeeze of lemon.  I finally DID what I said I was going to do, after quitting my Wall Street job and moving across the country to an island in the middle of nowhere.  Gerry and I ran a 25k together up Mt. Constitution.  We planned a belated honeymoon trip to Baja.  We did everything we could to make our lives full, without that maternal & paternal longing for fullness we hadn’t been able to conquer.  I started doing regular acupuncture, and even began to enjoy my morning tonic of Chinese herbs.  Swimming where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific, I let the waves lull me into oblivion, imagining myself a fish, floating, floating, floating.  I tried desperately not to care.  Gerry and I started smiling at one another again.  We made love just because.  

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I didn’t know then that I was nourishing an egg, with salt water and sand.  We came home with something like hope.  Something like peace, but not quite.  We felt ready for one more go with our demons and decided to try to make a baby once again.  We were shocked to find ourselves immediately pregnant.  And even more shocked to have encouraging initial blood results.  We thought it was fate -- that elusive notion we couldn’t yet dispose of.  I held on to that baby, or that thought of a baby, until I was 7 weeks pregnant.  And then I bled.  Furiously.  

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This is when we gave up.  We had foolishly believed that perseverance would yield a miracle and that our stubborn belief that our bodies could do this naturally was rooted in some twisted, yet cosmic destiny.  We crumbled.  We started taking a hard look at advanced reproductive technologies like IVF with pre-genetic screening (PGS) with the hope that screening our embryos would prevent us from implanting genetically compromised ones.  We felt conflicted.  We weren’t sure.  We didn’t know if we could pursue an invasive path with the risk we’d lose it in the end anyway.  Our doctors gave us no promises.  They had suggestions, and alternatives, but none dared to offer answers.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.  The same advice we’d received about our multiple losses and trying again.  Despite our grim history, the fuzzy statistics still insisted that we could deliver to term a healthy baby with a chance of somewhere between 50-60% on a subsequent, non-assisted pregnancy.  But after 5 losses, we felt like outliers.  We decided to take an assisted step with fertility drugs, give that a month or two, and then proceed to IVF with PGS.  We were waiting for my next period to come after the miscarriage so that we could start. 

But it never came. 

When you have five losses, you think you might start to lose count, to blur the memory of loss.  But I have retained every last detail, every date, where I was, how it happened, how my husband held me, how my friends came to my side, how my mother nursed me -- and how my community embraced me.  I have been open about our journey because I can’t imagine keeping it in.  I can’t imagine having walked this road alone, without a network of love to cradle us.  

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And this is why I owed it to you, to not tell you glibly, but to offer you our story, fraught with heaviness, but laced with light -- and even goodness.  We are pregnant with our miracle baby.  We are pregnant with the baby that we so stubbornly committed ourselves to and nearly gave up on.  We are pregnant with a child that will never be able to comprehend how very much he or she was wanted, and longed for, and thought about in the making.  We are pregnant with a child who has already expanded and enriched our lives, our capacity for love, and our capacity for forgiveness and healing. 

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This journey has left me numerous times questioning my faith -- and I hesitate to say it has crushed it.  But there is another kind of faith it has bolstered: my faith in humankind, in the capacity of love to assuage the challenges we all share, defined by different circumstances.  I don’t have a message to offer you - those struggling still with infertility, with loss, with depression, with addiction, with any battle that seems uncontrollable.  But I will offer this:  our baby is due to enter this world on Christmas Day, of all the 365 possible days.  There are gifts out there for all of us; sometimes it takes a painful road of searching to unwrap them.  We are deeply grateful, for this gift, and for all of you, who’ve loved us and squeezed us and kept us in your thoughts. 

And now, maybe-- just maybe-- we can celebrate.  We expect a very, Merry Christmas. 

Tattletales: Rustic Farm Egg Quiche with Coho Salmon & Chive


On Troller Point's boat, the F/V Ocean Oasis, there are 4 coil shaped levers set over the rigging lines.  The captain and deckhands watch the levers for the slightest bit of movement, indicating a fish may have latched onto the lewer deep in the ocean below.  They're called tattletales; fitting for the simple instruments that spill the beans on the fish waiting below.  But it's not as simple as it seems.  The movements are small, subtle, nuanced.  It takes a trained eye to distinguish between one indicating a caught salmon, and one moved by the wind or rippling or sloshing waves.  This quiche on the other hand, takes far less training.  


Things aren't always as they seem.  Quiche is one of those homey recipes I love having in my back pocket.  It's my go-to in a pinch - if I find out guests are coming over for lunch the morning of, or if I want something I can make ahead of time - I call on quiche.  If I'm even more pinched for time, enter the frittata - which for me, is the quiche below sans the crust.  Ideally I'd serve it with some crusty bread and a salad mixed from whatever was fresh in the garden (a handful of bright herbs dressed in salt & olive oil do wonders).  But if you have time - make your own crust (always make extra to freeze), and call it quiche.  If it weren't for all the rich omega-3's in the filling I'd probably eat it alone.  Or roll it out thin, spread on a bit of quince marmalade, sprinkle with sliced almonds and bake.  Topped with thick greek yogurt I might even call it breakfast.  


This is one of those recipes that is a canvas - for whatever bits and bobs you have in your garden, on the windowsill, or produce drawer.  Salmon pairs nicely with numerous alliums.  Chives could easily be substituted with leeks, shallots, or if you're lucky enough, the thinnest strands of green garlic.  The goat cheese could be cream cheese, or left out and served with a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream.  Nothing nuanced, subtle, or complicated about it.  Just good, simple, fresh food.  I'll leave the nuances to the tattletales. 


Rustic Farm Egg Quiche with Coho Salmon & Chives

Quiche is quintessential brunch fare in my book.  It's my favorite thing to prepare when family is in town as it's easily made in advance and great after it sits for a bit.  You can make it even easier (and gluten free) by nixing the pastry shell and preparing it in a skillet as a frittata.  Be sure to heavily butter or oil the pan before pouring in the egg mixture if you go this route.  Otherwise bake as indicated below.  

Serves 5-6

1/2 pate brisee recipe below (par-baked), or prepared tart/pie shell

4 oz salmon trimmings

5 farm fresh eggs

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup loosely packed finely chopped chives

4 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Freshly ground black pepper

If you're baking your own pastry shell, follow the recipe below, using a 9-inch round pie pan.  While you are par-baking the shell, place the salmon trimmings on a piece of foil with a little olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 6 minutes, or until just cooked.  Remove from the oven and flake into pieces.  

Leave the oven on or preheat to 350 degrees if you're using a prepared shell.  Beat together the eggs in a bowl with the cream and salt.  Add the chives and salmon.  Pour into pie shell and dot evenly with goat cheese.  Finish with a few cracks of black pepper.  Bake on the middle rack of the oven for about 45-50 minutes, or until set in the center, and puffed and brown.  Serve immediately or at room temperature.         


Pate Brisee Dough

Makes 1 double sided crust or two 9-10 inch tart shells (freeze extra dough by wrapping tightly in plastic wrap)

1 cup unsalted butter (cold - this is key)

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tspn salt

1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

Cut up cold butter into small cubes (I aim for 16 from one stick).  Mix salt into flour.  Toss in salted flour and work with your fingertips as little as possible to blend in the flour.  Don't fuss about getting even crumbles- it's fine to have some sandy bits and some chunky bits- that's what makes the crust flaky.

Mix in cold water, just enough to pull the butter and flour mixture together, and quickly mound together until it just holds.  Don't overwork the dough.  If it doesn't look perfect that's totally fine, you can patch it up with a little water once in the shell.  If you have time, chill the dough in the refrigerator before rolling (wrap tightly in plastic wrap).  Overnight is fine if you want to prepare in advance, but even 30 minutes helps.

Now it's time to roll out the dough.  If you've made the recipe as above, reserve half the dough and freeze.  You'll only need half for the tart shell.  Dust flour on the rolling surface (a silpat mat is genius), and quickly (this is all about working the dough as little as possible), roll out the dough into a shape that will accommodate your pan.  Once rolled out, fold the dough over your hand for easy transporting into the shell.  Press into the shell and trim off any excess.  Scrunch the edge in a nice pattern or press with the tines of a fork.  Pop in the freezer for 20 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  

To par-bake: Line the shell with foil or parchment paper and cover with pastry weights, rice, or dried beans.  Bake the shell for 15 minutes on the middle rack.  Remove from oven and remove foil & weights.  Return to oven and bake uncovered for another 10 minutes, covering the edges with foil if they start to brown too much.   

Relax. The hard part is over.  If you're all about ease, buy a premade shell, but it's not going to be quite the same.  Something about a homemade crust that makes it for me. Try it once.

Dressed in Butter, Topped with Spring: Pan Seared Coho with Chervil Butter Sauce & Sorrel Herb Salad

I may or may not be just a little obsessed with these gorgeous vacuum sealed slabs of Northwest gorgeousness from Troller Point Fisheries.  That and the chervil, delicately taking over my garden right now.  It's finally spring here at the homestead- the wisteria has buds, the peonies are growing- daffodils everywhere - green grass ! And green, green, green all over the garden.  The garden was, as it usually is, my inspiration for this dish, which comes together beautifully for company, but is relatively easy to prepare.  The herb salad cuts richness of the buerre-blanc, and is the perfect antidote to the crispy salmon skin.  


I'm a recent convert to the salmon skin - proof it's never too late.  Through all my years of eating salmon I thought of it as no more than a delicious treat for the pups (blasphemy!)  But at some point earlier this year- perhaps after watching my friend's 5 year old daughter climb on the table to get her hands on the salmon skin - I decided it was time to reconsider.  I'm glad I did.  The trick is getting the skin crispy, and when you do, you'll be rewarded with soft, lightly flakey flesh with a crispy, savory, salt studded crust.  

Skin like this is the perfect foil for butter (which, apparently people are whizzing into their coffees these days).  I stand completely unabashedly proud of my butter habit.  And the fish deserve it.  One by one they're brought into the boat, carefully cleaned and processed, and quickly frozen to seal in the sea salty moisture.  Give them butter.  Give them loads of butter.


And cut it with herbs.  If an herb salad sounds foreign to you, as the salmon skin once did, reconsider.  Salad doesn't have to mean lettuce.  In fact, tossing out the lettuce altogether and showering your salmon (or steak, or pork, or beans) with a handful of mixed herbs tossed in vinaigrette will take it to another level.  I'm salivating thinking of the juicy steaks I enjoyed in Argentina, dressed with parsley and vinegar chimichurri.  If you don't have access to delicate anise-scented chervil (it's easy to grow), you can substitute parsley, or ideally, parsley with a bit of tarragon.  The sorrel is hard to replicate- it looks similar to spinach but it's somewhat pungently acidic, from oxalic acid.  You can substitute spinach and extra lemon juice.  If all else fails and herbs evade you, toss a bit of arugula in lemon and olive oil and call it a day.       


I love how bright and colorful this dish is - evocative of spring but also a testament to the fish.  The fishermen tell me that Coho salmon like colorful lewers and require their own set of special gear to attract them.  I hope I've done them justice, dressed in butter, and topped with spring.    


Pan Seared Coho with Chervil Butter Sauce & Sorrel Herb Salad

Pan searing is a great way to showcase all the delicious bits of the salmon - particularly the skin, which is nearly as good as the fish itself when seared to a crisp.  Cooking the salmon with the skin-on also insulates the less fatty coho from overcooking.  The buttery sauce helps balance the meatier fish (as opposed to King) and the herb salad adds acid, dimension, and freshness.  I indulged and served over creamy leeks (recipe below) that had overwintered nicely in my garden but a bed of buttery mashed potatoes would do just fine.  


Serves 4

3/4 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons minced shallot

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

1/2 cup chervil leaves


2 tablespoons high heat oil (I used avocado)

1 1lb 8oz Coho salmon side cut into 4 5oz filets (net weight after trimming was alb 4oz)


3 tablespoons sorrel leaves, stems removed, cut in thin chiffonade

2 cups chervil leaves, stems removed, lightly packed

1/4 cup chives, cut to about 1/2 inch length

3 1/2 tablespoons tangelo juice (orange or grapefruit can be substituted)

1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon honey

2 tablespoons olive oil

Prepare your salmon.  If you're using a whole side, you may want to trim it a bit as illustrated in the photo above.  Trim the tail and top, and the long strip of belly meat, so that you have 4 even portioned filets.  The trimmings are wonderful the next day in a scramble or Rustic Farm Egg Quiche with Salmon & Chives -whatever you do, don't waste them, they're delicious.  Check the filets for pin bones- if you're using Troller Point salmon, you're unlikely to find them.  Season the filets generously with medium coarse or flaked salt and pepper if you desire.  Set aside while you prepare ingredients for the sauce and herb salad. 

Combine the sorrel, chervil, and chives in a small bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the tangelo juice, lemon juice, salt and honey.  Drizzle in the oil and whisk to emulsify.  Dress the salad lightly and set aside somewhere cool.

Start your sauce by combining the wine, shallots, lemon juice and salt in a small saucepan and heat to a simmer.  Cook until reduced by half and remove from heat and set aside.  

Preheat a large frying pan over medium high heat.  Return to your salmon and press between paper towels to make sure they are extremely dry.  Add the oil to the pan and heat until shimmery and almost smoking.  Once your oil is very hot, slide in the salmon filets skin side down (don't allow them to touch if possible), and immediately turn the heat down to medium low.  The switch to low heat is key - and will prevent the fish from cooking too fast and expressing all the white albumen.  Be sure to press down on each filet with a flat spatula for the first 1-2 minutes, but don't move them around.  This will help to encourage crispiness and prevent the skin from curling up and cooking unevenly.  If you have a thermometer, now is a good time to pull it out.  

Once the skin is nice and crispy (about 6 minutes --a good indicator is when it starts to move easily around the pan), you'll flip the filets for a final minute sear on the other side.  If you like your salmon medium-rare, you're aiming for an internal temperature of about 115-120 degrees when taken off the heat- keeping in mind the fish will continue to cook somewhat after being removed.  I like my salmon a little more done and prefer to cook to about 125 degrees but that's your call.  Don't let it cook beyond 130 degrees otherwise you'll have a filet full of white albumen with chalky meat.  Err on the side of undercooking if you're worried- you can always give it a quick sear to cook it more.  Once your salmon is done, set it aside on a towel lined plate to rest.  

Finish your sauce.  Return the wine reduction to a simmer- and whisk in the butter in small pieces.  Pour the sauce in a blender or food processor along with the chervil and blend until smooth.  Give the sauce a minute to rest -- it will thicken as the butter cools.  Serve, spooned over the salmon (skin side up), and drizzled on the plate.  Top with a generous handful of herb salad.  

Cream Braised Leeks

Serves 4 as a small side dish

1/2 cup cream

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons butter

2 lbs leeks, ends and dark green parts trimmed, cut lengthwise into quarters

Squeeze of lemon

Salt & pepper

Clean your leeks well in a bowl of water.  If you've trimmed and sliced them already, this will be a cinch.  If not, you'll want to at least slice them lengthwise in half before washing in order to get out any bits of dirt that lodged in while growing.  Strain them to dry (a little wet is fine).  Lay leeks flat in a 9-12-inch sauté pan.  Cover with cream, water and butter.  Bring to a boil and then quickly reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring gently once to distribute the butter, until the leeks are tender and the cream has reduced down by at least half.  Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon.  


Next up: Rustic Farm Egg Quiche with Salmon & Chives