Monday, March 30, 2009

Salmon in Wine and Cream Sauce

This salmon is proof that everything is better with crème fraiche. Everything, I tell you.

The sauce is the only tricky part of the recipe. It takes a lot of time to reduce the liquid and get the shallots soft. Then there is the fun of forcing the juices out of the tomatoes through a mesh sieve. Which made me wonder about the things the French do in the name of sauces. There was very little to show for all the work but once the crème fraiche is added it's worth the effort seeing as the end result is a thick creamy sauce with a nice sharp tang to it from the tomatoes and white wine.

I didn't have any Muscadet just laying around so I used the driest wine I had in the wine rack. The Santa Julia Organica Torrontes is a nice balance of tart citrus and minerality that worked well in adding to the sauce. For drinking with dinner it was rather complex, neither the fella nor I could could figure out quite what was going on this wine. It had good depth for a $10 organic white to the point that we just say there saying “this reminds me of something” never able to put our taste buds on what was so familiar about it. I do know that the tartness of the wine went really well with the lemon zest on the Sesame Green Beans we made once again to go with dinner.

Salmon in Wine and Cream Sauce

4 tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 shallots, diced
1 1/2 cups Muscadet or dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper

3 tablespoons butter
6 center cut salmon fillets, skin removed

2/3 cup crème fraiche
1 teaspoon minced fresh chervil (I used dried parsley)
1 teaspoon minced fresh chives (I skipped these)
1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon (I used dried)

In a saucepan over medium high heat, combine tomatoes, shallots, wine, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until reduced by a third, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper to taste. In frying pan over medium high heat, melt the butter. When it foams, add salmon fillets. Sear until golden on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes each side.

While salmon cooks, strain the tomato mixture through a fine mesh sieve placed over a bowl, pressing against the pulp to extract all the juice. )This will yield surprisingly little juice so don't be worried, if you're not picky you could just put this all in a food processor and get a chunkier stronger sauce.) Stir in the crème fraiche, seasoning to taste. Return to the saucepan over medium heat and cook until sauce thickens a bit, about 3 minutes.

Pour sauce over the salmon and sprinkle with chervil, chives, and tarragon. Serves 6 (I halved it when I made this.)

Original recipe from Savoring France by Georgeanne Brennan.

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