Monday, November 2, 2009

Seared Salmon with Champagne Sauce

Those who know me, know I love fishing but a close second is the cuisine my finned friends make possible. Here I am sharing what is probably my favorite salmon recipe. It is simple and comes out perfect every time. If you want to prepare an easy seafood dish that will impress both your mouth and your guests (and in that order) then this is for you:

2 salmon fillets (as uniform in thickness as possible)
2 cloves of fresh garlic
1 shallot
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup of Champagne (I use Cava - Spanish Champagne)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon of sugar
fresh tarragon
fresh ground salt/ black pepper

Salmon: Prepare fillets by removing the skin with a very sharp, thin bladed knife. Once skin is removed, pat the fillets dry until any visible surface moisture is removed (important for searing). Heat a skillet on high heat (cast iron works very well). Once your skillet is very hot, sprinkle fillets with fresh ground salt and pepper liberally. Add butter to the pan until just melted and then carefully place fish into the skillet. It is important NOT TO MOVE the fillets until about 3-5 minutes or until a golden brown sear has formed. Flip fillets with spatula and sear to a golden brown on the other side. Once both sides have seared nicely, remove the fish immediately and place in a small baking pan. The center of the fish at this point will be raw. Finish off by baking in the oven at 200 degrees for about 10-15 minutes or until they flake through.

Champagne Sauce: this sauce is stinkin' awesome. Start by chopping the shallot and mincing the garlic. Heat a small skillet to medium high and add olive oil. Once oil is hot, add the diced garlic and shallot; cook until caramelized. Add the Champagne and reduce by half (if the Champagne is on the dry side, simply add some sugar. It is probably best to just use a Spumante). Once champagne has reduced, lower to medium low heat and add flour. Stir aggressively to integrate, then add the cream. Avoid allowing the cream to boil by maintaining a relatively low heat. At this point allow the sauce to reduce until it thickens a little. Add salt and pepper to taste. Finish by adding fresh tarragon. Reduce to a low heat. Serve by spooning sauce onto the plate and placing the fillets over the sauce. Spoon remaining sauce over fish. Pair with veggies like steamed green beans and new potatoes.

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