RECIPE: Crispy Salmon with Pea Shoots and Pistachio Crème Sauce



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RECIPE: Crispy Salmon with Pea Shoots and Pistachio Crème Sauce

  • Author: Vanessa Seder


My family and I make this recipe on occasion when we have guests pop by. It is visually stunning on the plate, healthy, deceptively easy to throw together, and always a crowd pleaser. The creamy sauce in fact contains no cream. Soaking the pistachios in boiling water softens them, and when blended, they turn into a velvety sauce with just the right amount of pistachio flavor, perfect for pairing with the salmon, sweet peas, and pea tendrils. You can generally find raw shelled pistachios in the bulk aisle. They are on the expensive side, but you can buy just the amount you need. I recommend purchasing wild-caught salmon that grows in a natural environment and isn’t given additives, unnatural foods, or antibiotics. Serves 4


Units Scale

For the sauce

  • 3/4 cup raw shelled pistachio nuts
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the Salmon and Pea Shoots

  • 4 (6-ounce) center-cut salmon fillets (about 1 1/4 inches thick)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups shelled peas
  • 3 cups packed pea shoots
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Chopped shelled pistachios, for garnish
  • Fresh mint leaves, for garnish


  1. Place the pistachios in a high-powered blender along with 1 cup boiling water. Let sit until the nuts begin to soften slightly, about 30 minutes.
  2. Add the oil, sugar, and vinegar and blend on high until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Use paper towels to pat the skin of the salmon dry, and season the fish all over with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.
  4. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When very hot, add 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl to coat the pan. Place the salmon skin side down in the skillet and cook without moving until the skin becomes golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Flip the fillets, and continue to cook until just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and butter in a large high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the peas and cook until warmed through, about 4 minutes. Add the pea shoots and toss until just wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Spoon some of the pistachio crème onto the center of each of four plates. Top each with pea greens and one salmon fillet, skin side up. Garnish with chopped pistachios and mint leaves. Serve immediately.

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Vanessa Seder
Vanessa Seder
Vanessa Seder has worked in the food industry for close to 20 years as a recipe developer, food stylist, chef instructor, and author. Her cookbooks include: Eat Cool, (which received positive reviews from the New York Times and elsewhere) and the award-winning Secret Sauces. A graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education, Vanessa has developed recipes for Real Simple, All You, Health, Cooking Light, Hannaford’s Fresh, Ladies Home Journal—where she previously served as an associate food editor, and Maine The Way, among others. She lives with her family in Portland, Maine. She can be found online at and Instagram @vseder.
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