Farms, Food and Sustainability – The Tour Continues

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto


Salmon Braised in Red Wine with Greens, Crisped Prosciutto and Radish Crunch


The April, 2013 pre-conference tour for attendees of the Washington State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics annual meeting continues to Willie Green’s organic farm in Monroe and on to Patterson Cellars in Woodinville.


April is a soggy month in the Northwest, as proved by the mud I brought home on my boots following a tour of Willie Green’s organic farm in Monroe, Washington. At first glance it is a quiet time on the farm, but a second look at the trays of seedlings sprouting in the propagation sheds reveals an agricultural energy building for the busy summer growing season.

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto




Pointing to plants in various stages of growth, our guide Stephanie Olson said, “these are newborns, and those are toddlers!”  She talked about the little plants with the same affection you would extend to a nursery full of human babies. 

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

Her story continued with, “then they go to the fields, to have a life!”  It sounded like a tale of little birds leaving the nest or children going off to college.   In the case of Willie Green’s greens, the final step is an encounter with some lucky individual’s salad bowl or steamer. 

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto




The morning’s theme of passionate farmers running family-owned businesses, launched at the Werkhoven family dairy, continued to our afternoon stops. It is clear that the owner of Willie Green’s, Jeff Miller, has passed along his personal passion for farming to all who share in the work of nurturing vegetables and berries grown on his farm. 


Olson affectionately explained the origins of the farm in 1987.  Miller, a California chef committed to top-quality ingredients, “Tom Cruised” his way to Washington State with a few seeds in his pocket.  Twenty-five years later, the farm has grown from one-quarter of an acre to 55 acres producing 50 to 60 varieties of vegetables and berries supplying restaurants and Farmer’s Markets throughout the Seattle area. 

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto



We learned that this rural and idyllic-looking family farm has a vision of the future.  Long committed to producing quality organic and “salmon-safe” produce, Willie Green’s has made another big commitment by investing in the tools, practices and a brand-new facility to comply with the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act and all HAACP* standards.  They clearly understand that consumers want assurances of product safety along with good-eating produce. As we boarded the bus to leave Willie Green’s we got a present – a bag of gorgeous, just-picked braising greens, leeks and radishes. 

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto



 Our next and last stop was a visit to another home-grown Washington business, Patterson Cellars, where we met with winemaker-owner John Patterson.   


Patterson is an easy-going and knowledgeable spokesperson for winemaking in the state of Washington, particularly Woodinville Wine Country, where over 100 of the state’s 750-plus wineries have a presence.  He quizzed us on wine facts while we sampled the products of his passion, a diverse selection of whites, reds and rosé.  

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

Martha Marino, MA, RD, CD, Director of Nutrition Affairs for the Washington State Dairy Council, made sure no one tasted on an empty stomach by supplying three Washington State cow’s milk cheeses, a classic Washington State University Cougar Gold, Beecher’s Flagship Reserve and a Mount Townsend Creamery Camembert.

 We learned that wine is big business in the state of Washington, second only to California in production with thirteen American Viticulture Areas. Patterson tested us on the calorie count of a 5-ounce glass of wine (only about 130 give or take 5) and subtly reminded us wine’s health benefits with a question about the phytochemical in red wine, resveratrol. 


Photo by Lorelle Del Matto


Inspired by Patterson’s wines and the gift of Willie Green’s braising greens, leeks and radishes, I came home and cooked up the following recipe. 


*HAACP stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points


Salmon Braised in Red Wine with Greens, Crisped Prosciutto and Radish Crunch

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto




4 thin slices prosciutto

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 small leeks, white and pale green part only, chopped

1 bulb fennel, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

2 canned, drained anchovies

1 1/2 cups red wine

1 cup chicken broth

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon tomato paste

4 (6-ounce) salmon filets, skin removed if desired

4 ounces braising greens, or a combination of small leaves of chard, kale and/or other winter greens, large stems removed

Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt, to taste


Radish Crunch:

1/2 cup chopped radishes

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme

2 teaspoons thinly sliced fresh chives

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon olive oil

Pinch or two of sea salt


Heat large deep skillet over medium-low heat.  Add prosciutto slices and cook turning once, until crisp.  Remove prosciutto to a plate and reserve.  Swirl olive oil into skillet and add leeks, fennel, carrot and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally until shallot softens.  Add anchovies to center of pan and smash with back of fork to a paste.  Stir to mix anchovy paste with other ingredients in pan.  Add wine and simmer, uncovered for 2 to 3 minutes to reduce.  Add broth, tomato paste and bay leaves.  Bring to a simmer, then cover, reduce heat and simmer gently for 15 for minutes.  While sauce simmers, combine ingredients for Radish Crunch in a small bowl; reserve for topping. Add salmon filets to sauce in pan and spoon some sauce over each filet.  Recover and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes till fish is just cooked through.  Remove filets to plate; keep warm.  Stir greens into sauce, cover, return to a simmer and cook for a minute or two, just to wilt greens. Stir in salt and pepper to taste, as needed.  To serve, spoon sauce and vegetables evenly into 4 shallow bowls.  Top vegetables with salmon filets.  Drizzle some of the wine sauce over each filet. Crumble crisped prosciutto over salmon, then top each filet with radish mixture, dividing evenly.  Makes 4 servings.


© 2013 Lorelle S Del Matto

lorelle About lorelle

Crazy about cooking, eating and sharing good food – my work and leisure revolve around the kitchen. As a culinary dietitian my professional life encompasses nutrition counseling and education, recipe development, product development, food and nutrition writing, marketing communications, corporate test kitchen and consumer affairs management, food styling and work as a product spokesperson.

Speak Your Mind