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Salmon season is upon us! | Recipes

Sear-roasted salmon with blackberry beurre blanc. - Courtesy of Sizzleworks
Sear-roasted salmon with blackberry beurre blanc.
— image credit: Courtesy of Sizzleworks

From local waters to Copper River, salmon is a favorite at my dinner table.

For a mouth-watering, tasty and yet easy-to-prepare meal, I love it because it is so versatile. Change the flavor profile with seasonings and a sauce, pair it with a number of ethnic sides and serve it with a variety of delicious local wines! What’s not to like? A sauce of local ingredients perfect! My wine of choice for this entrée is Merlot or Chardonnay. Yes, you can have red wine with fish!

My favorite method for cooking salmon is sear-roasting. It takes a couple of minutes longer than simply sautéing the fish but the end result is PERFECT! For the initial prep, I brine the salmon, increasing flavor and moisture. Brining takes 2 hours. This can be accomplished early then take the salmon out of the brine and dry it, return it to the refrigerator until ready to cook. Or brine two hours ahead, remove from the brine and cook. It’s definitely worth two hours and making the brine is a snap!

Here’s the how-to:

Sear-Roasted Salmon

For brine:

3 tablespoons Kosher salt

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 to 1 1⁄4 pounds salmon fillet, skinned, or salmon steaks, skin and bones removed

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

Dissolve salt and sugar in 1/2 cup hot water, then add 1-1/2 cups cold water. Pour into large resealable plastic bag or shallow dish. Divide fillet into 4 serving portions if necessary. Place fish fillets in brine, seal. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour. Remove fish from brine, PAT DRY. Allow salmon to come to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Preheat oven and baking sheet to 425°F.

Heat butter and olive oil in large heavy skillet over high heat. Pat fillets dry again if necessary. Browning will not happen if the fish is wet. Place fillets in heated pan, cook 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove to heated baking sheet; season with salt and pepper to taste. Place in preheated oven; cook 4-8 minutes, until internal temperature of salmon reaches 135°F. Remove from oven, tent with foil. Let stand 2-4 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 145°F.

Blackberry Beurre Blanc

1 teaspoon butter

1 large shallot, minced

Dash of salt

Thyme

1/4 teaspoon jalapeno pepper or red pepper flakes (optional)

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar, or balsamic vinegar

7 tablespoons dry white wine (I like unoaked Chardonnay for this)

1 tablespoon dry white wine

1/4 teaspoon arrowroot or cornstarch

salt, pepper and sugar to taste

3 tablespoons COLD butter , in 3-4 pieces

1 cup blackberries (fresh or thawed from frozen)

2 teaspoons freshly snipped chives, for garnish

Over medium heat, melt the 1 teaspoon butter. Sauté shallots with a dash of salt and the thyme until translucent and softened. Add vinegar and 7 tablespoons wine, raise heat and reduce liquid by 80 percent. Meanwhile prepare a slurry by whisking the remaining tablespoon of wine and the arrowroot or cornstarch. Add slurry to the reduced sauce mixture; bring to a boil. Check and correct seasonings. Remove from heat; slowly whisk in butter, one piece at a time, until all but the last bit of butter has been incorporated. Gently fold in blackberries. Heat through, taking care not to boil again. Then add the remaining butter, and gently stir it in to incorporate.

Serve the Blackberry Beurre Blanc over Grilled Salmon; garnish with chives.

Serves 4.

Sauce can be beurre rouge, use red wine (something without a lot of oak on it).

About the author

Carol Dearth is the owner of Sizzleworks cooking school (14111 N.E. 24th St. in Bellevue). A Le Cordon Bleu graduate, Dearth is a Certified Culinary Professional designated by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Dearth offers free recipes and tips at TheSizzleWorks.com/blog.

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