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Spring-is-Coming Feast

Succulent seafood makes a great seasonal centerpiece

Spring is approaching—the solstice is on Monday, March 21, followed by Easter and Passover—so we'd thought we'd suggest some ideas for a family-and-friends feast.

We offer for your consideration a Salmon Spread appetizer, two entrée options that feature the herbal flavors of spring—Easter Sablefish or Garlic Salmon—and Athenian Asparagus as a side dish.

Or, if you're hosting a midday gathering, serve up our Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict!

Smoked Salmon Spread Appetizer

Three 6-oz. Vital Choice smoked sockeye portions

1 package cream cheese (8 oz.)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons grated onion

1 teaspoon horseradish (optional)

3/4 cup chopped pecans

4 tablespoons snipped parsley

  • Mash salmon portions. Combine thoroughly the mashed salmon, cream cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, onion, and horseradish, and roll mixture into balls. Chill several hours (overnight is best). Combine pecans and parsley. Roll refrigerated salmon balls in pecan/parsley blend and chill coated balls one hour. Serve with assorted crackers.

Easter Sablefish

Because sablefish is so rich, and this recipe calls for Mediterranean herbs, this recipe seems perfect for an Easter feast.  If you don't care for feta cheese, mix 1/2 pound chopped mushrooms with the white wine and tomatoes.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes

Serves 4

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

3 green onions, chopped

1 cup dry white wine

1 (14.5 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with liquid, chopped

Four 4-oz. Vital Choice sablefish fillets (16 oz. total)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 pinch dried thyme, crushed

1 pinch dried rosemary, crushed

1/4 cup sliced black olives, drained

1/2 pound crumbled feta cheese (or chopped mushrooms)

  • Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir in green onions, and cook until tender, 5 to 10 minutes.

  • Mix white wine and tomatoes with the green onions, and bring to a boil. Place sablefish fillets in the white wine mixture. Season with basil, pepper, thyme, and rosemary. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until fish is easily flaked with a fork. Remove fish fillets from skillet.

  • Sprinkle fish fillets with black olives and feta cheese.

Garlic Salmon

Just steam a fine salmon filet in foil, in the oven or barbecue, and savor its flavor, infused with garlic, fresh baby dill, lemon slices, fresh ground pepper and green onions.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

1 Vital Choice boneless sockeye salmon fillet (approx. 2 lb.)

salt and pepper to taste

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 sprig fresh dill, chopped

5 slices lemon

5 sprigs fresh dill weed

2 green onions, chopped

  • Preheat oven to 450 F (230 C). Spray two large pieces of aluminum foil with cooking spray.

  • Place salmon fillet on top of one piece of foil. Sprinkle salmon with salt, pepper, garlic and chopped dill. Arrange lemon slices on top of fillet and place a sprig of dill on top of each lemon slice. Sprinkle fillet with chopped scallions.

  • Cover salmon with second piece of foil and pinch together foil to tightly seal. Place on a baking sheet or in a large baking dish.

  • Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until salmon flakes easily.

Athenian Asparagus

This delicious Greek side dish fits the Easter bill.  

Serves 4

1/4 cup butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 pound fresh asparagus spears, trimmed

  • Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cook garlic in butter for a minute, but do not brown. 
  • Add asparagus, and cook for 10 minutes, turning asparagus to ensure even cooking.

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict

Serves 4

1 teaspoon vinegar

8 eggs

4 English muffins or focaccia wedges

Two 4-oz portions of Vital Choice smoked sliced Nova Lox

Hollandaise Sauce (see recipe, below)

4 egg yolks

1/3 cup butter, melted

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pinch cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

  • Pour enough boiling water into skillet to come 3 inches up side; return to boil. Add vinegar; reduce heat to gentle simmer. Break each egg into small dish; gently slip into simmering water. Cook until desired doneness, about 5 minutes for soft yolks and firm whites. Remove with slotted spoon and drain well, patting bottom of spoon with towel to dry egg.

  • Meanwhile, cut English muffins horizontally in half and toast; place 2 halves, cut side up, on each plate. Top each with smoked salmon, poached egg and 2 tbsp Hollandaise Sauce.

Hollandaise Sauce

  • In heatproof bowl over saucepan of simmering water, whisk egg yolks until thick enough to coat back of spoon, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter, 2 tbsp at a time, until thickened; whisk in lemon juice, salt, cayenne and dill. Keep warm over hot water.

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