Monday, December 3, 2012

Wild Sockeye Salmon with Mushroom Sauce

I love salmon, but I am particular about it. I find a big taste difference between wild salmon and the farm raised. So when I heard that Whole Foods will be doing another one of their one day specials this Friday, December 7 on Wild Sockeye Salmon, I was eager to prepare a recipe featuring the fish. It's a great deal, on sale for $7.99/lb, half the usual $15.99. That's a great buy for salmon of this quality. This sockeye salmon is rated sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council. I keep my eye on my local Whole Foods Woburn Facebook page to keep abreast of sales like this. This particular sale is nationwide, but it's a good idea to check your local store for availability and other specials they may have.

Good salmon doesn't necessarily need too much adornment; we often enjoy it pan seared with just a bit of soy sauce or lemon juice. But topping the salmon with a mushroom sauce is a nice, easy treat!

2 tsbp butter
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil, optional
1 clove garlic, minced
10 ozs mushrooms
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 tsp dried thyme or herbes de provence
salt and pepper to taste

12 ozs wild coho salmon fillet
1 1/2 tbsp canola oil

The salmon cooks so quickly I like to get the sauce pretty much done before cooking the salmon. Heat the butter plus olive oil in a sauce pan or skillet over medium heat. When melted, add the shallot, cook until it begins to soften, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook fora another minute. Now it's time to stir in the  mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms begin to soften. Add the red wine, cook for about 5 more minutes, until the wine has been reduced by about 1/2 and the mushrooms are fully cooked. Turn the heat down to very low and cover to keep warm as you cook the salmon.
Sear the salmon skin side down to get it crispy before flipping
My method for searing salmon is based largely on that described in Barbara Lynch's Stir: Mixing It Up In The Italian Tradition. I usually get a fairly thin fillet from near the tail section, so it cooks quickly. Heat the oil in a skillet on medium-high, then add the salmon, skin side down. Sprinkle a little extra oil on top along w a touch of salt. Don't touch it for about 4 minutes, then flip the fish with a spatula. When cooked enough, you shouldn't have a problem with the skin sticking to the pan. Cook on the flesh side for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and let it rest covered loosely with foil. The fish should still be very moist and have a dark orange color inside. Overcooking salmon ruins the flavor, so be careful!

Wine pairing: Pinot Noir is a great option for salmon, and with the earthy mushrooms as a topping, pinot becomes the obvious choice. We had a great treat, the Enkidu Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast. A delicate wine, with nuanced fruit flavors. Yum!

Full disclosure: Whole Foods Woburn provided me with the ingredients for the meal to help spread word about the special. I chose the recipe, and the results are fully my own!