- Posted September 15, 2013 by
The Salmon of Wisdom
Salmon is a widely popular and richly flavored fish. Sadly, due to pollution, damns, and over fishing, salmon numbers, especially the Atlantic, have dwindled. This has been compensated for with farmed salmon, which comprise about 70% of the worldwide production. Purists will tell you that wild salmon has a deeper flavor than their aquacultured counterparts.
Salmon is prepared whole, cut into meat food, or thinner fillets. Be on guard for the pin bones in the steaks and fillets. Run your finger along the flesh and have a pair of tweezers or small pliers available. You do not need to remove the skin; in fact it’s quite tasty. Salmon, depending on the cut, can be roasted, broiled, grilled, sautéed, poached, braised, or not cooked at all. It takes particularly well to cream based sauces, brightened with acidic highlights and finished with herbs such as dill, chervil, or tarragon. However, salmon is amenable to many other flavor profiles.
Here is just one of the easiest to make fish recipes.
SALMON IN MUSTARD CREAM SAUCE
• 1 lb. salmon fillet
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Vegetable oil, as needed
• 3 oz. dry white wine
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 3 scallions, chopped
• Fresh chopped dill, as needed, (optional)
Endeavor to procure a salmon of fillet of uniform thickness so it will cook evenly; ¾ to 1-inch thick is ideal. Leave the skin intact.
Season the fish with salt and pepper and sear, skin side first in very hot oil. Do not use a non-stick pan as they are not conducive to developing a fond, (the intensely flavored caramelized bits on the bottom of the pan that will later be incorporated into the sauce). If you use a heavy bottomed, high quality skillet, allow the oil to get hot enough to just smoke, and place the fish undisturbed in the oil for the first few minutes, it will not stick. Once the first side is fully browned, flip and sear the other side. When the other side is browned remove the fish and keep warm. Add the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping the browned bits off the bottom. When the wine has reduced to about a third of its original volume add the cream.
Simmer and reduce the cream. After a few minutes add the mustard and salt and pepper. Reduce the sauce to almost the desired thickness and volume. Add the fish back in and warm up and coat the fish in the sauce. Finish with the scallions and serve. Fresh chopped dill also makes a nice finishing touch.