Crusted Salmon with Red Wine Sauce (17 May 2004)
Thanks to Sally James, Sara Moulton, and a little inspiration.
A note about the cooking technique – the original recipe from Sally James fried the fish in olive oil. Near-broiling avoids one of the disadvantages of frying since the oil content is minimal; also, it goes a little faster, still toasts the crust slightly, but does not overcook the fish if you’re attentive. They also used neither basil nor mint, which add a great deal to the flavours.
1/2 cup pinot noir, red zinfandel or shiraz wine(a fruity red !)
In a small saucepan, slowly bring the wine to a very low simmer. For purposes of timing the meal, the objective is to reduce the wine by 1/3 to 1/2, evaporate the alcohol, and produce a flavourful sauce. It will take about 15 to 20 minutes to bring the wine to a simmer and reduce it sufficiently.
1/2 tablespoon freshly-ground pepper
3/4 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds (keep ‘em whole, eh?)
1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried mint leaves
Mix the above ingredients thoroughly in a bowl large enough to accommodate the salmon filets.
Two 5 to 6 ounce salmon filets
Preheat the oven to 475° F. Be sure to keep the oven rack in the middle of the oven.
Lightly coat the salmon filets with oil, then press into the spice and herb mixture, coating the fish on all sides. Place the filets onto a baking dish covered with a wire rack. Bake for about 3-4 minutes per side (depending on thickness of filets), turning once.
1/2 pound fresh asparagus, “snapped” and cleaned*
Chicken stock for cooking
Pepper to taste
A pinch of cayenne
Simmer the asparagus in the stock with spices until just tender, about 4-5 minutes.
Serve with rice, sharing sauce between fish and rice. Garnish with fresh basil leaves (if you like to eat them – I do !!) and serve with the wine you used to prepare the sauce.
*Note: My terminology about “snapping” asparagus refers to a technique of bending the asparagus stems at the bottom until the tough part at the bottom snaps off, leaving the tender upper vegetable. The bottoms can be used to make stock or they can be peeled and used in the dish.
FF = Foodie Friday