Spring Flavors 4

DragonRidge Country Club Chef Eric Castillo Shares His Refreshing Spring Creation

Executive chef Eric Castillo is an artist at heart. He attended Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School and currently works at the top culinary spot at DragonRidge Country Club and has been developing recipes such as this one.

“I am a firm believer that cooking food from scratch is the only way to do it,” he says. “Combining raw ingredients with new inspiring recipes can truly create something that challenges what we think of as cuisine.”

Seared Salmon with Spring Vegetable Couscous and Charred Lemon Vinaigrette

Makes 6 servings


  • 6 5-ounce portions fresh salmon fillet, skin off


1. Season each side of fillets with salt and pepper.

2. In a nonstick pan over medium heat, add a small amount of canola oil. Add salmon and cook until there is a nice crust.

3. Flip and continue to cook until it reaches the desired temperature.

Ingredients for the Couscous

  • 7 ounces Israeli couscous
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 14 ounces slender asparagus spears, 
 trimmed, cut diagonally into 3/4-inch 
 pieces (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 8 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed,
 cut diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces 
 (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup shelled fresh green peas
  • 1 pint baby heirloom tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint


1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add couscous, sprinkle with salt, and sauté until most of the couscous is golden brown, about 5 minutes.

2. Add 1 3/4 cups broth, increase heat and bring to boil.

3. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed and couscous is tender, about 10 minutes, adding more broth by tablespoonfuls if too dry. Chill.

4. Once cool, add asparagus, sugar snap peas, green peas and tomatoes.

5. Season with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Cool.

6. Toss chilled couscous with charred lemon vinaigrette (See the recipe at 
GreenValleyLifestyle.com) and fresh herbs before serving. Place salmon on top and drizzle with remaining vinaigrette. Serve family style.


Ingredients for the Vinaigrette

  • 2 Meyer lemons
  • 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoon minced shallots
  • ½ cup olive oil plus 1 teaspoon to char lemon slices
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper


1. Heat a skillet over high heat and drizzle with olive oil. Add the lemon slices. Cook until they begin to char on one side then flip and cook briefly on the other side.

2. Remove and place in a blender. Use a spatula to handle the cooked lemon slices.

3. Add the vinegar, agave nectar, shallots, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.