Hans Rockenwagner serves this dish in asparagus season at his two L.A. restaurants.
For the Mashed Potatoes
- 3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and halved
- 1⁄4 cup heavy cream
- 3 tbsp. butter, softened
- Freshly ground white pepper
- 1 1⁄2 lb. cooked fresh white asparagus,
- cooking liquid reserved
For the Salmon
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 (4-oz.) skinless salmon filets
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Half a lemon, seeded
- Vegetable confetti (see recipe)
For the mashed potatoes: Put potatoes in a medium pot, cover with cold water, and add a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until tender when pierced with a skewer, 25-30 minutes. Drain, then return potatoes to pot over medium heat, shaking it until potatoes are dry and mealy, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and mash potatoes in pot with a potato masher until finely textured. Add cream, then beat in butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat.
For the salmon: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season salmon with salt and pepper, add to skillet, and sear until browned, crusty, and just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Squeeze some lemon juice over salmon just before salmon is done. Reduce heat to low to keep salmon warm.
Untie string from asparagus bundles. Set 12 spears aside. Chop remaining spears into 1⁄2'' lengths, then fold into mashed potatoes. If you like, gradually stir in a little asparagus cooking liquid for lighter, more flavorful mashed potatoes. Divide potatoes between four plates, set salmon on top, then arrange 3 reserved asparagus spears over each filet. Serve with vegetable confetti and garnish with sprigs of parsley, if you like.