Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Salmon with Rosemary and Lemon Butter Sauce

Just as they say, "don't believe everything you see on television", don't believe the pictures in cookbooks.  This salmon tastes as good as it looked in the cookbook, and about 100 times better than it looked in person, because it looked like a hot pink mess.  It's not the recipe's fault or anything, I'm choosing to pass the blame onto Whole Foods, where I bought the fish (even though I'm sure some lack of skill was involved in this debacle).

I unwrapped my Coho salmon and immediately began to doubt its ability to retain it's shape.  It was already separating in places and then I touched it.  Pin bones.  Full of them.  So after I pulled all the bones out I was left with two sloppy looking pieces of fish.  When it came time to make the sauce I began to worry because so much of my sloppy salmon had broken off of the main piece of fish while cooking. A sauce that looked smooth, buttery and opaque in the cookbook picture was now basically clear except for a tint of yellow and clumps of pink fish.  Oh well.  It was delicious.

The fish is sear-roasted giving it an excellent crust and the sauce is simply wonderful.  My husband enjoyed it as well as my daughter and it was her first time eating fish.  This one is going down as a success, even though it looks like dog food.
Serves 2
2 skinless salmon fillets (about 12 oz.)
salt and pepper
1 T. olive oil
Rosemary and Lemon Butter Sauce

Preheat the oven to 425 F.  Pat the fish dry thoroughly with paper towels and season both sides with salt and pepper.  Heat a 12-in heavy ovenproof (I used a Dutch oven) skillet over medium high heat until a droplet of water vaporizes in 1 or 2 seconds.

Add the oil, then evenly space the fillets in the pan.  Cook, without touching for 2 minutes.  Check to see if the fish is well browned and releases easily from the pan and flip.  If it's not well browned or releasing from the bottom of the pan, continue to cook for another minute.  Cook the second side for 2 minute and then transfer the skillet to the oven.

Roast until the salmon is firm to the touch and reads 135 on an instant-read thermometer (medium), about 5 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the salmon to a plate and tent it.  

Prepare the sauce

Rosemary and Lemon Butter Sauce
1/3 c. dry white wine
2 T. finely diced shallot
3/4 t. chopped fresh rosemary
3 T. unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 t. lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste (I didn't use any)

Pour off any excess fat from the skillet.  Blot remaining oil with a paper towel, but leave browned bits (or in my case, large pieces of fish seared onto the pan).  Return the pan to high heat and add the wine, shallot and rosemary.  Cook, stirring until the wine is about evaporated, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and whisk in the cubes of butter, 4 at a time until they're incorporated.  Stir in the lemon juice and add salt and pepper if you wish.  Serve immediately over the salmon.

~adapted from Fine Cooking Annual (volume 1) by the editors of Fine Cooking

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  1. You had me at rosemary butter and lemon sauce! those are some of my very favorite ingredients!

  2. i love that hot pink mess .. salmon is my fav specially smoked ! your dish looks fantastic-ly tasty ..

  3. Sounds delicious! Sometimes, food ain't pretty but who cares as long as it tastes good, right?



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