Despite a re-kindled love-affair with our grill, this is our new favorite way to prepare Salmon. Fast and simple, yet totally luxurious. If you like sushi, you'll LOVE sauteing good-quality fatty salmon just enough to cook the bottom and heat the top layer into a melt-in-your mouth experience. I would expect no less mastery from Thomas Keller. Serve over leeks cooked in a creamy Beurre Blanc and what's not to love?
8 large leeks (1.5 lbs)
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
1 large thyme sprig
1 large Italian parsley sprig, plus 1 t minced parsley
1 bay leaf
6 black peppercorns
2/3 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup champagne vinegar
1/4 cup heavy cream
8 oz. unsalted butter, cut into small chunks and chilled
2-3 T fish fumet or chicken stock (we used chicken stock)
1 t minced chervil/tarragon/chives
For the Salmon:
4 6-oz pieces of center-cut salmon fillet, skin and bones removed
kosher salt and white pepper
1/2 cup fish fumet or chicken stock
Use only the light green sections of the leeks; discard the white and dark green portions as well as the tough outer layer and save for vegetable stock, etc. Cut the light green sections into 1/2-inch-thick rounds.
2. Place the rounds in a large bowl of warm water and swish them gently to remove any dirt, being careful not to separate the rounds. Lift them out of the water.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath. Add half the leeks to the boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes, or until tender.
4. Transfer leeks to a colander or strainer and plunge them into the ice bath for no more than 15 seconds.
5. Drain and repeat with the remaining leeks.
6. The leeks can be prepared to this point up to a day ahead, covered, and stored in the refrigerator
1. Beurre Blanc:
Put the shallots, thyme, parsley sprig, bay leaf, and peppercorns in a medium saucepan and add the white wine and champagne vinegar.
2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced to about 1 Tablespoon. Remove from heat.
3. To finish, add the heavy cream to the reduction, place the pan over medium heat, and simmer to reduce the liquid by half. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
4. Begin adding the butter one piece at a time, whisking constantly to keep the sauce emulsified. Add a new piece of butter before the previous one has completely melted.
5. The sauce should remain warm to the touch but not be simmering. When all the butter is incorporated, strain the beurre blanc into a small saucepan.
6. Stir in the fumet or stock and keep in a warm place.
The thinnest part of the fillet should not measure less than 1/2 inch thick. If the salmon is cold, let it stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes before cooking.
2. Season the skinned side with salt and white pepper. Season the other side with salt only.
3. Heat 1/8 inch of canola oil in a large nonstick skillet.
4. When the oil is hot, place the salmon skinned side down in the hot oil and cook on one side only for about 5-6 minutes. Regulate the temperature, turning it down as necessary to keep the edges from browning too quickly. The fish is done when the bottom is crispy, and the fillet is cooked about halfway up the flesh. The top should still be rare.
Put the leeks in a medium saucepan, add the 1/2 cup stock, and heat over medium heat until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Gently warm the beurre blanc and stir in the minced parsley, chervil, tarragon, and chives.
3. Divide the sauce among serving plates, place the leeks in the middle of the plate, and top with a salmon fillet. Bon Appetit!