Monday, April 9, 2012
Salmon with Cherry Sauce
There has been a theme lately on cooking shows and in cooking magazines - making a restaurant-style meal at home. The Chew and Simple & Delicious both featured some amazing meals you can make at home with ease that would be as elegant as going out to an expensive restaurant. The Monkey Scientist and I frequently try to save money by eating at home, and it's nice every once in a while to splurge a little bit more on an upscale dinner at home.
Even though this is one of the more expensive meals I make, it's still about a quarter of the price of getting a similar meal in a restaurant! Salmon can be expensive, especially if you live in the middle of the country, but we waited and it went on sale for $6.99/lb which made it about the same price as the meats we usually make. I estimate 1/2 lb per person, so for the 2 of us I bought just under a pound of fish. The only other expensive ingredient is the cherry preserve. I recommend a high quality preserve like Bonne Maman (it has been on sale 2/$7 at Giant lately), but if you'd like to make your own from fresh cherries this summer (especially if you're a Michigander), I bet it would be even better!
The best part is how quickly and easily this meal comes together. I've actually made it twice in the last couple weeks (that's how good it is). Each time we started cooking after 7 and were still able to eat before 8! I'd estimate the total prep and cooking time around a half hour. That's it! It's even quicker than going out to eat. Even the busiest mom can find time to delight and impress your family with this meal.
I like to serve this recipe over my favorite creamy polenta. I have a wonderful recipe I'll share with you later this week! Usually I only make polenta with red meat, but it complements the salmon fabulously. The cherry sauce mixes with the polenta to make it tangy and sweet. Polenta is incredibly easy and inexpensive to make, but, if you prefer, you can serve this with roasted root vegetables or potatoes instead.
The key to making this feel like a fancy meal out is making this meal look as good as it tastes. When you plate it for everyone, it's very impressive looking. There are beautiful colors - pink salmon, yellow polenta, and dark purple cherry sauce. A friend was over the first time we made this and she was so impressed that in such a short period of time we put together a plate that looked so delicious. The next time you have a few friends over for dinner, they will be very impressed if you bring this to the table. If you wanted to add a vegetable, roasted asparagus would complement this dish very well and add a bit of green.
My review of this recipe is, of course, is that it is wonderfully delicious. The mild salmon is complemented well by the sweet and tart cherry sauce. If you serve it with polenta, the soft and creamy texture works well with the flaky salmon. Salmon is one of the healthiest foods on the planet - high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and selenium - so you can feel good about eating this meal, too. This week, give your family a high quality, ultra delicious and healthy meal - at home!
Salmon with Cherry Sauce
4 Salmon fillets, skin-on, 6 ounces each, scaled and scored
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons minced shallots
Pinch crushed red peppers (we use about a teaspoon)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup cherry preserve (I like Bonne Maman best)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup chicken stock
1. Preheat a large sauté pan or cast iron skillet with the olive oil over medium to medium high heat. Season one side of the fillets with half of the salt, pepper and sugar; flip them over and season the other side with the remaining seasonings.
2. Place the salmon in the pan, skin side down, and cook until it is nicely browned and caramelized, 3 minutes. Flip over and cook on the other side for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from the pan and store in a low temperature oven (175-200 degrees F is fine) to keep warm, skin side up.
3. Using the same pan, add the shallots and crushed red pepper and saute, stirring, until just tender, 15 to 20 seconds.
4. Add the wine, red wine vinegar and cook until it is almost completely evaporated, 30 seconds.
5. Add the chicken stock and cherry preserve, stir to incorporate and let it simmer to slightly reduce it, 1 minute.
6. Stir in the butter and remove the pan from the heat.
7. Plate the salmon fillets and spoon the cherry sauce on top. Serve over polenta or roasted vegetables.