Wednesday, February 26, 2014

For the Love of Salmon - Salmon Riesling

Hello friends! I am thrilled to be sharing the first guest blog post from my sister Elizabeth. We both share a love and passion for food and cooking. She makes such elegant food and this salmon recipe is one of them. Poaching the salmon in Riesling wine adds a lovely sweetness to the sauce and I think would be very welcome for a Spring dinner. Please welcome Elizabeth to the blog! 

Well, here I am diving into my first blog post. Nichol has been at my heels for over a year; trying to get me to contribute to her blog.  Seeing as she and I don't let a week go by where we are not discussing our latest culinary triumphs and failures-I suppose my humble addition of a post was just in the natural progression of our sister/friendship.

So where does one start when presented with the task of writing their first food post? Well-it must start back at my roots, or I should say OUR roots as Nichol and I are sisters-and have a myriad of food memories from our childhood. Let me start with one of the firsts that we have known from early toddlerhood- the wild Alaskan salmon.

Growing up in the small town of Haines, Alaska- wild salmon has been the staple in our smokehouses, our freezers and on our dinner plates.  We smoke it, pickle it, broil it, BBQ it, and have sent many a tourist into a feeding frenzy at our prized salmon bake.

Adulthood has afforded me the luxury of being quite particular with the manner in which my salmon is prepared.  I eye restaurant menus warily whenever I see salmon listed on the menu; because-lets be frank-few cooks know how to honor the mighty salmon and give it the care it is due.

Nichol was visiting me in my home in Seattle a few years ago and I shared with her a recipe I had recently discovered from The Fiddlehead Cookbook; a culinary treasure from Juneau that she has featured here before for their North Douglas Chocolate Cake. It is from that same treasure trove that I present to you a salmon recipe that is worthy of sharing with friends at your dinner table.

Salmon Riesling

Preparation and Cooking Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Accompaniment: Hot Jasmine Rice and Roasted Brussel Sprouts

2 lbs fresh wild salmon fillets-cut into 4 portions
(I prefer Sockeye-the flesh is firm and flavor unbeatable. The recipe calls to skin the salmon-I left it on as it made no difference in my cooking experience. The skin is considered the best part by some! Do make an effort to remove bones prior to cooking.)
I've included a video here of Gordon Ramsay's technique to help you out if needed.

3 tablespoons all purpose flour, season lightly with salt and pepper
3-4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/2 cup Riesling wine ( a nice glass to sip on while you cook is highly recommended)
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 cup heavy cream

1) Rinse and pat dry the 4 fillets. Lightly dust salmon fillets with flour.

2) Heat butter is a stainless steel pan over medium high heat. (Note: nonstick does not do a great job of browning the fish.) When butter foam subsides, place salmon skin side down in pan. Brown fillets lightly on both sides; approximately 2-3 minutes each side.

3) Add wine and tarragon to pan. Cover pan with lid and reduce heat to a slow simmer. Poach fish very gently for about 8 to 10 minutes until it flakes easily. Remove salmon fillets to serving platter and cover with tinfoil to keep warm while you finish the sauce.

4) Add heavy cream to the pan of remaining wine sauce-raising the heat to high. Cook rapidly until sauce has thickened and reduced to about 3/4-1 cup of liquid. Be sure to stir frequently to keep sauce from scorching on the bottom. Pour sauce over fish and serve at once with rice and a squeeze of lemon.

Enjoy the salmon the way it was intended!