Tarragon Basil Pea Mash with Crispy Pan Fried Salmon (Paleo Friendly)

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Tarragon Pea Mash Pan Fried Salmon by Angela Roberts

I often see people complain that the reason they don’t eat healthy is that it’s too much trouble, takes too much time, and it’s easier to grab something more convenient. I want to help to change that. I know the struggles of eating healthy. That’s why I’m featuring more meals that only take about twenty  minutes to prepare. In this case you could make the pea mash ahead and this dinner

Tarragon basil pea mash is the perfect fat/carb side for seared salmon that only takes about 7 minutes to prepare.  Salmon full of good fat, protein and flavor. Basil, tarragon and lemon season the pea mash, and the salmon is so tasty it’s only adorned with salt the pepper.

I like to see salmon done very barely cooked in the center, yet crispy on the outside.

I prefer the all clad stainless steel, when pan frying fish.  Using the smallest amount of oil, the salmon skin grabs onto the bottom of the pan and when it’s crispy, it just releases. By this time, the pan is hot and when the salmon is turned over, it will crisp up on the bottom  in about four minutes, making sure my salmon does not get overcooked. It’s so buttery that it doesn’t need much, but when the mood strikes to make it special, a pea mash makes a perfect marriage.

Tarragon Pea Mash with Seared Salmon by Angela Roberts

Are Green Peas Paleo?

I’ve deemed this a paleo friendly dish, although I know some will disagree. That’s fine. Kris Kresser in “Your Personal Paleo Code” proposes that green peas, green beans should not necessarily be ousted from the Paleo community, as some people benefit from them just fine. There is some serious silliness in what is deemed the “Paleo Community” with some of the same silliness and dogma I see in the Vegan community. I’m caught in the middle here, as I’m a fish eating, meat eating, vegetable eating tiger. I love it all, as long as the ingredients are star quality, and produced upon an eco friendly, body friendly value system. That’s my dogma and I’m sticking to it.

I for one will never stop eating green peas or green beans because someone said my late great ancestors didn’t eat them. I’m more concerned with getting people away from mac and cheese in a box and pesticides in whole foods. I think that when people get dogmatic without scientific information and decide to ban whole green food, they lose normal non-health nut folks who will shake their head and deem the Paleo community as nutty.

They will return to the garbage food and I can’t say I blame them on some count. Dogma about anything makes people shriek, get all in and then get all out. Like crash diets.

We don’t eat like that, and in reality, any of us in America who care about health are always swimming upstream, just to avoid hot donuts and hot dogs, and ridiculous food like chicken fried tofu (which is aplenty at my local Whole Foods and makes me shake my head every time I see it).  Choosing healthy is not for the weak at heart. It takes ferocity, so why make it harder than it has to be.

Here’s a healthy dinner that takes under twenty minutes to prepare. Some people will tell you it’s not healthy. Some people  shriek at olive oil the way they used to shriek at coconut oil. Some people will tell you that browning food will kill you. Some people will tell you that 10,000 years ago no one ate green peas and we shouldn’t either. You have to use your own good judgement. This is way up the health food chain. You could be eating at Captain D’s.

Whether you poach your salmon or pan fry it, this is a delightful dish, light and filling at the same time, and takes you giant steps forward in eating healthy. If you want to add in more nutrition, add an avocado to the pea mash. Smooth, creamy, and no one is going to tell you avocado is bad for you. At least not this year.

Avocado pea mash is another option. This version below follows the same instructions and add in an avocado. It’s creamier and quite tasty.

Tarragon Basil Pea Mash with a crispy pan fried salmon might just help you to make better dinner choices, whether you are eating alone or having a dinner party.

Avocado Pea Mash with Seared Salmon by angela roberts

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Tarragon Pea Mash with Crispy Pan Fried Salmon (Paleo Friendly)

A fragrant herb infused pea mash with pan fried salmon.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Entree
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2
Author: Angela Roberts


Pea Mash

  • 1 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter or use more oil of choice
  • 1 leek sliced
  • 2 shallots or 1/2 onion diced
  • juice of one lemon with zest
  • big handful fresh basil
  • big handful fresh tarragon

Pan Fried Salmon

  • 1 pound of salmon cut about 2 inches thick.


  • Saute leeks and shallot (or onion) in oil and butter until softened.
  • Add frozen peas.
  • Add half lemon zest. Save remaining for salmon
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • When peas are warmed through, turn off heat.
  • Add in the juice of one lemon
  • Add in fresh herbs.
  • Place in blender or Vitamix or use a stick blender to mash, leaving as a mash, not a puree. You may need to add in some more olive oil.

Pan Fried Salmon

  • Take salmon out 30 minutes prior to cooking.
  • In the meantime, take the other half of the lemon zest and place in olive oil.
  • Season salmon with salt and pepper.
  • Heat lemon olive oil in frying pan that is just large enough to hold salmon.
  • On medium heat, fry salmon top side first for 3 minutes or until it's crispy and moves away from the bottom of pan easily. Turn over.
  • Fry skin side down for another 4-6 minutes until the bottom is crispy. Cover the pan to cook through. Be careful not to overcook.
  • Place on top of the pea mash. Serve immediately.


You can add an avocado to the pea mash, for a creamier version.

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  1. That looks like a perfect dinner to me. And I completely agree with you on the health debate. I don’t eat paleo but we have gone back to not eating a lot of carbs anymore. At least during dinner and while I eat cookies, cakes and such, I believe in the word moderation and common sense… 🙂 Not always easy but you’re right, it doesn’t take a lot to eat healthy as his dish proves!

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