Olympia Provisions by Elias Cairo and Meredith Erickson takes a behind-the-scenes look into the Portland restaurant’s famous charcuterie spreads and other unique menu items.
Growing up, I always had an unfulfilled yearning for ham salad; I wished someone would make a quality ham salad that didn’t resemble dog food. In this dish, OP Southwest chef Alex Yoder grants my wish, elevating the pedestrian ham salad with the addition of tender steamed mussels. Add a nicely cooked piece of halibut and roasted fingerling potatoes, and you have the perfect summer dinner.
Note: the rock salt can be reused to prepare multiple batches of salt-roasted potatoes. After a few uses, it will begin to discolor as the moisture it pulls out of the potatoes begins to caramelize. We usually use ours four or five times. The salt should be refrigerated between uses.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Create a layer of rock salt in a shallow 8 by 8-inch (20 by 20-cm) baking dish. Place the fingerling potatoes on top of the rock salt so that they are not touching, then add the remaining rock salt to cover the potatoes completely. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 35 minutes. Leave the oven on. Remove the potatoes from the salt and set aside to cool.
- Combine the mussels and white wine in a pan large enough to accommodate the mussels. Cover, place over medium-high heat, and cook until the mussels open, 5 minutes. Drain the mussels, discarding the wine. Spread the mussels out on a baking sheet to cool, discarding any that didn’t open. Once the mussels are cool enough to handle, gently pull them out of their shells and set aside. Discard the shells.
- Put the egg yolk in a heavy ceramic bowl and, starting a drop at a time, whisk in 1 cup (240 ml) of the olive oil. When the emulsion forms and the mixture thickens, begin adding the oil in a thin, steady stream, whisking continuously. When the mixture becomes very thick, thin it with water, a few drops at a time, until it has the consistency of runny mayonnaise. Whisk in the sherry vinegar and mustard and season to taste with kosher salt. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and add the shelled mussels, the ham, pickles, green onions, and celery. Stir gently to combine and season to taste with black pepper.
- Turn up the oven to 400°F (200°C). With the side of a broad knife, flatten each roasted fingerling potato against a cutting board so that it is still in one piece but has two flat sides. Heat the remaining1⁄2 cup (120 ml) of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and fry the fingerling potatoes on both sides until golden and crisped, about 4 minutes per side. Remove to paper towels to drain.
- Heat the canola oil over medium-high heat in a heavy ovenproof sauté pan large enough to accommodate the four halibut fillets. Season the fillets with kosher salt and pepper. Sear the halibut fillets until they begin to develop a golden crust, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the pan to the oven. After 3 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and flip the fillets. Return the pan to the oven and cook until a skewer slides in and out easily without resistance, 1 to 6 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets.
- Divide the potatoes evenly among four plates and top each portion with a halibut fillet. Squeeze some lemon juice over the fish and divide the mussel salad evenly among the plates.
Reprinted with permission from Olympia Provisions, by Elias Cairo and Meredith Erickson, copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.