Pea Puree with Preserved Lemon Salsa

Wow! This pea puree is so wonderful, and the preserved lemon goes just perfectly with it. It's adapted from a recipe in this month's Bon Appetit, from Lucques restaurant in L.A. The original dish was more focused on pea shoots, but I can't bring myself to snip off any of my pea shoots, because that would mean fewer peas! I didn't have all the ingredients so I just left stuff out, and I followed the recipe very loosely, mixing up some of the components. I'm always looking for more ways to use preserved lemons, because I love them, and this is a real winner. We enjoyed it with a nice Pacific Halibut fillet, but I think it would be great on lamb, chicken, pasta, or maybe a grilled slice of halloumi (a firm Middle Eastern cheese).

4 6-oz. halibut fillets
3 sprigs fresh thyme (or better yet, lemon thyme)
Juice of 1 lemon (preferably Meyer) or 1 tsp lemon zest

Pea Puree:
2 cups fresh or frozen peas
1 cup packed fresh spinach leaves (I actually left these out but want to try it)
1/3 cup ice water
Juice of 1 lemon (preferably Meyer)
2 Tbs olive oil
Generous pinch of sugar
2 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro or mint
Salt and pepper

Preserved Lemon Salsa:
1 preserved lemon (or zest of 1 fresh lemon, but it will be a whole different thing, more like a shallot salsa with a little lemon flavor)
1 medium shallot
2 tsp Champagne or white wine vinegar
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp honey
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
2 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro or mint
Freshly ground black pepper

Put the fish and marinade together in a plastic bag and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Cook the peas in boiling salted water for 1 minute, or in the microwave for a few minutes until just tender. Cook the spinach in the same pot for a few seconds (or in the microwave with just the water that clings to the leaves after washing), until just wilted. Puree the spinach and peas with the ice water. Whisk in lemon juice, oil, sugar and cilantro, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Slice the preserved lemon and shallots very thinly. Combine the shallots with vinegar and a pinch of salt, and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in honey to dissolve. Toss with preserved lemon (or lemon zest) and remaining ingredients. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the fish as desired (we just fried it in olive oil for about 3 minutes on each side). Pour pea puree on each plate, set the fish on it, then top with lemon salsa. Serves 4.


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