Saturday, March 24, 2012
Seared Salmon with Mushroom Sauce
2 tsbp butter
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil, optional
pinch garlic powder
10 ozs mushrooms
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 tsp dried thyme or herbes de provence
salt and pepper to taste
10-12 ozs salmon fillet (size I used, serves 2, but you could increase the size of the fillet and still have enough sauce. I always go with the wild salmon)
1 1/2 tbsp canola oil
The salmon cooks so quickly I like to get the sauce pretty much done before cooking the salmon. Heat the butter plus olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. When melted, add the shallot, cook until it begins to soften, about 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, salt & pepper to taste, and garlic powder. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms begin to soften. Add the red wine, cook for about 5 more minutes, until the wine has been reduced by about 1/2 and the mushrooms are fully cooked. Turn the heat down to very low and cover to keep warm as you cook the salmon.
My method for searing salmon is based largely on that described in Barbara Lynch's Stir: Mixing It Up In The Italian Tradition. I usually get a fairly thin fillet from near the tail section, so it cooks quickly. Heat the oil in a skillet on medium-high, then add the salmon, skin side down. Sprinkle a little extra oil on top along w a touch of salt. Don't touch it for about 4 minutes, then flip the fish with a spatula. When cooked enough, you shouldn't have a problem with the skin sticking to the pan. Cook on the flesh side for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and let it rest covered loosely with foil. The fish should still be very moist and have a dark orange color inside. Overcooking salmon ruins the flavor, so be careful!
Plate portions of the salmon, then top with the mushroom sauce. I happened to have some leftover pasta which I served on the side with green beans in this photo. Couscous is a nice accompaniment to this dish, too.
Like many six year olds, my son hasn't taken to mushrooms yet. I serve his with a bit of honey/soy sauce mixture. This salmon/soy sauce combo made his list of "Things I like" in a recent school project, along with Legos and Transformers!
Wine match: Pinot Noir is a generally a good match for salmon, and becomes an obvious choice with the mushroom sauce. I'd lean toward a Burgundy or one from Oregon ideally, as they tend to be earthier and thus a nice pairing with the mushrooms. The Bouchard Aine & Fils I've mentioned before is a good value option from Southern France for around $10. We just had the 2010 Pennywise Pinot Noir from California last night with something else, and that is a good value at around $13. #WineChat friends are telling me I need to try the Hahn pinot, so might have to match that up with this dish some time soon!