Copper River Salmon & Wild Watercress Salad

Copper River Salmon & Wild Watercress Salad

Created by Shannon Doulgas / Honest Magazine 



- 2-3 Drifter’s Fish Salmon fillets (6-8 oz. each), thawed

- 4 tablespoons whole grain mustard (I love Maille brand)

- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

- 5 tablespoons Verjus

- 1 tablespoon Elderflower Syrup

- Sea salt

- Large bundle wild (or store-bought) watercress

- Small handful Salmonberry blossoms & shoots

- A generous handful of Marcona almonds (I like Matiz brand)

- Wedge Parmesan Cheese

- A couple tablespoons of cold-pressed olive oil, to finish

- Fresh-cracked black pepper


  1. Move your oven rack to two notches from the top and turn the broiler to high. Set your thawed fillets out to come to room temperature (this helps the salmon to cook evenly throughout, so the warmer outside areas don't overcook while the cooler inside is still raw). 

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, maple syrup, verjus and elderflower syrup. Pour into a small, heavy bottomed pan on the stovetop over medium-high heat. You’re going to want to reduce this mixture so it will be here for a good 12-15 minutes. It’ll bubble and become hot so keep an eye on it and keep it moving with a whisk to avoid burning.

  3. Once the sauce has been reducing for about 10 minutes, place the salmon on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or foil, skin side down. Grab a pinch of salt between your fingers and, holding your hand a good 6 inches or more above the salmon, sprinkle across the surface in an even layer. Repeat with the remaining fillets.

  4. Returning to your sauce bubbling on the stovetop, spoon ⅓ of the mixture evenly over the salmon and place in the heated oven. Return the pan to it's burner and set the timer for 2 minutes while you continue to stir the sauce.

  5. When the timer goes off, quickly baste half of the remaining sauce over the fillets and return to the oven for another 2 minutes. 

  6. At this point, you can take a quick break to thoroughly wash the watercress, snapping off any stems that seem large and leafless. Use very cold water and place back in the fridge. I don’t generally wash the salmon berry flowers, as the petals will fall off and I forage mine from my own property but use your best judgement here.

  7. When the timer goes off, take your sauce mixture (which should be even thicker now), and spoon the remainder onto the salmon. The salmon should now be cooked. You want it to be just a touch raw looking on the inner-most part, as the residual heat will continue to cook the salmon after it's out of the oven, finishing it off nicely without overcooking. If it looks more than a touch raw, return for another 1-2 minutes. Set aside. 

  8. Place a small, dry skillet over a burner on low and toss in the marcona almonds. Lightly toast for just a couple of minutes, shaking the pan a couple times to toast all sides, and remove.

  9. Arrange the cold watercress over a platter or cutting board and sprinkle with the salmon berry shoots & flowers. Sprinkle the almonds over top, and use a vegetable peeler to shave pieces of parmesan over the almonds - I like to do about a handful. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle another hefty pinch of salt over top, along with a few good grinds of pepper. Carefully slide the salmon off of the mat or foil and onto the watercress platter. Serve with chilled iced tea or white wine on your porch/yard/picnic blanket. 

Read more about Shannon's story foraging for the ingredients in this recipe.
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