Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Oven Roasted Herbed Salmon with Herb Cream Sauce

This dish looks complicated, but it's not. It's simple... and delicious... and not my idea. I stole the idea from my son, Chris.

Chris is a lot like me. He gets his inspiration from dishes that he has been served while eating out or while trying to create something really tasty from what happens to be in the refrigerator or freezer.

When Chris made this dish for Tom and me a couple of years ago, he cooked the fish in a foil pocket which he inserted into a paper bag and placed on the outdoor gas grill. The heat from the gas grill cooked the fish and the burning paper bag provided some smokiness to the flavor of the sauce. Mmmmm.

Tom wanted to bake the fish in puff pastry, but I don't like the flavor of fish-soaked, soggy puff pastry, so we compromised. We served it on a square of baked puff pastry. It was amazing.

Oven Roasted Herbed Salmon with Herb Cream Sauce
adapted from Chris Powers' recipe by Terri Powers for Terri's Table

4 boneless, skinless salmon fillets
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed and cut into four squares
2 shallots, sliced thin
1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1 handful chives, chopped
3 sprigs of fresh tarragon, leaves removed from stems and coarsely chopped
3 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed from stems and coarsely chopped
1 small bunch of basil, leaves removed from stems and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Note: These are the herbs I used because most of them grow in my herb garden, but you can use whatever combination of herbs you like.

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Spray a large baking sheet lightly with cooking spray. Lay the four pieces of puff pastry on the sheet about an inch apart. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the pastry is puffed and lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside.

Increase the oven temperature to 425ºF.

Line a 9X12-inch baking dish with aluminum foil, making sure the foil is wide enough to go up the sides of the dish because you will be using another piece of foil to cover the fish, making an aluminum foil packet.

Lightly salt and pepper each fillet on both sides and place the fillets in a single layer on the foil. Cover the fillets with the shallots and the rest of the herbs. Pour the wine gently over the fish. Put 1/2 tablespoon of butter on each fillet. Cover the fish with another piece of aluminum foil and seal the two pieces of foil together tightly. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on thickness of the fish fillet.

Remove the fish from the oven and carefully unwrap the foil. Remove the fish fillets from the foil, scraping the herbs from the top of each fillet back into the wine at the bottom of the foil packet. After all the fillets have been removed, gently pick up the foil from the pan and pour the wine and herbs into a blender or food processor and process until smooth.

Pour the the mixture into a small pot, add the cream and bring to a boil over high heat on the stove. Simmer gently until sauce is reduced a little and slightly thickened.

To serve, place one square of puff pastry on a plate. Set one salmon fillet on top of the puff pastry. Pour the sauce over the salmon and pastry.

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