Thursday, 14 June 2012

Pan-Fried Salmon with Mushroom Cream Sauce

Here's a tip, which I have just learnt, which has taken my cooking to a whole new level.

The picture above was the main course, following the Thai Coconut and Coriander Soup starter, of the birthday lunch I made for my mum and sister.

The key to this dish is the sauce. I don't know why, but good sauces always elevate a mundane set of ingredients into 'dinner party fare'.

The tip:

With any sauce, simply infuse your chosen flavour ingredient, then discard it, then add some of the fresh ingredient again just before serving.

I'll explain:

If, like I have in this recipe, you fancy a mushroom sauce; infuse some finely chopped mushrooms into a cream/white wine/stock vegetable sauce base for an hour or so, and then sieve the sauce to remove all of the vegetables, including the mushrooms. Then, gently fry some new mushrooms to remove their acidity and water, and then add them to the sieved sauce just before serving. Easy. You can do the same thing with pretty much anything. Soups are the same - carrot and coriander soup is made exactly the same way.

Making sauces and soups this way gives the finished dish a background depth of flavour from the slow cooking, followed by a fresh burst of flavour from the newly introduced ingredient. Its seems like a lot of bother, but it isn't. You just need a sieve (no muslin - you don't need to be a fanatic about it) and a spare clean pot to transfer the newly strained soup/sauce into. Now that I have discovered this easy trick, my cooking has improved tenfold. Try it - you'll see.

Salmon fillet portions at my local supermarket were on offer at half price £6.49 per kilo, so that this recipe came in well under my Potless budget at £2.50 per serving. On a full price salmon day, I would choose bream, rainbow trout or even river cobbler fillets instead. It really doesn't matter - my simple sauce will transform any fish into a top notch dish.

Serves 4


4 large salmon fillets
4 tablespoons of olive or sunflower oil.
1 large onion finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
300g mushrooms (button, or closed cup are fine), finely chopped
Large pinch of salt
300ml medium white wine
300ml double cream
1 tablespoon of honey or sugar, to taste
300g shitake, or chestnut, or any wild mushrooms, finely chopped
Boiled new potatoes ( I used new season's Jersey Royals), to serve
Steamed green beans/sugarsnap peas, mange touts, to serve

In a hot pan, sear the salmon steaks in two tablespoons of the oil until golden and crunchy (5 minutes approx), and then transfer them to a baking dish. Preheat oven to 200c. In the meantime, in a saucepan, fry the onion, garlic, celery and button mushrooms in a tablespoon of the oil, until soft and translucent. Add the wine and reduce by two-thirds. Add the cream and reduce by a further third. Strain the sauce to remove the vegetables. Season to taste, and add the honey or sugar if the sauce is too acidic. Place the salmon steaks into the preheated oven and cook for 10 minutes, then remove to serving plates. In a separate frying pan, fry the shitake mushrooms in the remaining oil until golden and crunchy, and then add them to the sauce. Nap the sauce over the salmon and serve with the boiled new potatoes and green beans/peas.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi, looking forward to getting your ideas, suggestions and recipes here at Potless Towers. Leave a comment and we'll get straight back to you.