Ever go to a fancy restaurant, order the salmon, and it comes with this rich, creamy, savory sauce on top? Most of us probably can’t afford to go out and get dishes like that all the time. It always seems that those types of places are the ones right on the beach or on the 15th floor overlooking a big city. With wine, appetizers, dessert, ambiance… that’s easily a $200+ night for two. I decided to try to make this gourmet style experience at home.
Let’s start with the wine. This meal fortunately would be a wonderful dinner to make any time of the year. If you are preparing this salmon in the summer, I highly recommend a light white wine with a citrus backbone. Ever heard of Pedro Ximenez? Yes that is the grape varietal name and is also known as PX. It is mostly planted in Spain and used in Sherry; however, Chile has started creating their own style in the Elqui Valley. This acidic style white wine has notes of lemon and lime which really bring out the zest I put into the dish below. Considering this varietal may be hard to find, a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc would be just as refreshing. If you are preparing this meal in the winter, I suggest a buttery Chardonnay since that wine carries a little more meat on its bones than a lighter summer white wine.
Recommended wines: Cucao PX, Quintay Clava Sauvignon Blanc,
Landmark Overlook Chardonnay
After pouring yourself and guest(s) a splash of white wine, you are ready to begin the at-home gourmet dining experience. This dish definitely calls for quite a few ingredients but I feel that each one adds that extra touch needed. For instance, lemon zest. The zest captures the citrus flavor in tiny compacted particles that burst in your mouth when eating. The capers create a salty sensation. Shallots are a more subtle way to add flavor rather than the harsh bite a regular onion can give. Let’s face it, butter and cream are fatty but sometimes there really just isn’t a better alternative. Less can be more with these ingredients and a healthier option too. I have included side dishes as well. I find zucchini to be a hearty vegetable that sautes nicely and soaks up excess sauce. Risotto has a slightly creamy texture and pairs great with the salmon. I have attached a photo; however, I became a bit too antsy to eat after slaving away in the kitchen for 45 minutes and may have taken a few nibbles off the plate.
Salmon with a Creamy Caper Sauce
- 2 salmon fillets
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- white wine
- heavy cream
- clam sauce or fish stock
- lemon juice and zest
- 1 shallots chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- chives (chopped green onion)
- chopped italian parsley
Salt and pepper both sides of salmon. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in saute pan over medium heat. Cook salmon for about 5 minutes on each side. To cook thoroughly, cover with lid between flipping. Avoid flipping more than once to keep from getting dry. Set aside salmon and cover to keep warm. In the meantime cook risotto and saute vegetables.
Heat 1-2 tbsp. of butter in same pan salmon was cooked in. Reduce heat to medium low. Add shallots and garlic. Saute for a few minutes and then add 3/4 cup white wine. Add 1 tbsp of lemon zest. Cook off most of wine and add 1/3 cup clam juice or fish stock. Add juice of one lemon. Add about 1/2 cup cream. Add more liquids as preferred. Work in 2 tbsp capers. Simmer sauce for about 5-10 minutes and add final touches of chives and chopped parsley. Pour sauce over salmon and serve.
- 1 green and 1 yellow zucchini julienned ( long thin slices)
- excess chopped shallots from above
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
Saute in pan with olive oil over medium high heat for about 10 minutes. I like them slightly crunchy with grill marks. With this dish, simple is best since the salmon has so many flavors.
Many grocery stores with specialty aisles, carry boxed risotto. In that case pick out one that suits your flavor profile. I like the mushroom with herb or Parmesan. Cook as directed and add Parmesan and lemon zest on top. If your local store does not carry these items follow directions below.
- 1 pot prepared white rice
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- parmesan cheese
- lemon zest
- 2 tbsp butter
- excess chopped parsley and minced garlic from above.
Combine broth and prepared rice and cook off. Add all other ingredients and serve.