Saturday, December 14, 2013

Book 108: Autumn Gatherings

by Rick Rogers

Wow! This was easy and delicious! What more could one ask for?

This would be perfect for company. It takes hardly any time at all to throw together. I made the sauce while the rice was cooking, and the salmon roasted for maybe 20 minutes. I always buy the Coho salmon - it's thinner, which equates to a shorter cooking time, and I think it has a better flavor.

Whenever I have to make a reduction of any kind, it always takes way longer than stated in the recipe. Not sure what it is that I am doing wrong. Maybe I don't cook it at a high enough temperature, worried that I may burn it. I also don't have one of those fancy pans with sloped sides that are made for sauce reductions.


The instructions for this sauce says to reduce the liquid to two tablespoons, about 6 minutes - it took longer as usual. I can't tell you how long, for I did not pay attention to the time. But that's OK. It was ready in plenty of time - even if it wasn't, it would have been worth the wait. This sauce in my opinion, is to die for. I kept going back for more, I just could not get enough of it.

You may be thinking that this looks like a really small piece of salmon. I had purchased three-quarters of a pound for the two of us, and received a call from our daughter that she would be stopping by, and I had asked her to stay for dinner. She offered to stop and pick up some more fish, and I said we would make do - and we did - it turned out to be the perfect amount.

According to the American Heart Association, a serving of fish is two to three ounces.

Roasted Salmon with Pomegranate Butter Sauce
Makes 6 servings

One 2-pound center-cut salmon fillet, with skin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ cup bottled pomegranate juice
½ cup hearty red wine, such as Syrah-Cabernet blend (I used a Carnivore Cab)
2 tablespoons minced shallots
½ teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or ¼ teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 8 equal portions
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a large rimmed baking sheet. (I used parchment paper in place of the oil.)

Run your fingers over the cut side of the salmon, feeling for any pin bones. If necessary, pull out the bones with sterilized tweezers. (I skipped this part.) Place the salmon on the baking sheet, flesh side up. Season with the salt and pepper. Cut the salmon vertically into 6 equal portions, but do not separate the pieces. (This makes the salmon easier to serve after cooking.)

Roast until the salmon shows just a hint of bright pink when prodded in the center of the fillet at one of the cuts with the tip of a knife, 12-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the butter sauce. Bring the pomegranate juice, wine, shallots, and rosemary to a boil in a nonreactive medium saucepan over high heat. Cook until the liquid is reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to very low.

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in 1 tablespoon of the butter. Whisk until the butter softens into a creamy texture, occasionally returning the pan to the heat to keep it warm, but not hot. Repeat with the remaining butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If you wish, strain the sauce through a coarse-mesh wire strainer into a serving bowl, but I usually skip this refinement, as the sauce will taste great one way or the other. Do not bother to try to keep the sauce piping hot; it will be heated by the warmth of the salmon.

Serve the salmon on individual dinner plates, and spoon the sauce on top. Sprinkle with a few pomegranate seeds if desired. Serve immediately.

Autumn Gatherings/Rick Rodgers

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