Salmon in Sorrel Sauce

By • May 11, 2010 • 84 Comments



Author Notes: In a former life, I owned a fish market. In addition to selling fresh fish, we offered prepared foods to take home - a radical concept at the time - and this dish was prepackaged with instructions. It's a rich, bright dinner party meal that whips up in less than 10 minutes and never fails to impress. Best with the first sorrel of the season. Sorrel is one of the easiest herbs to grow (note: invasively so) but this sauce guarantees it a home in my garden. - MrsWheelbarrowMrsWheelbarrow

Food52 Review: MrsWheelbarrow's salmon with sorrel has all the markings of professional training; the unexpected beauty behind this dish is that it can be executed from start to finish in under 30 minutes by even a relatively new cook. Once the herbs are chopped and the salmon sliced into two-bite slivers, all that's required is a quick broil (it barely took us 30 seconds to cook our salmon through) and an almost equally brief spell in a hot pan for the sauce. The result is an elegant, balanced dish that we'd pull out for a dinner party, or just a weeknight dinner we were looking to make a little special. A note: if you can't find sorrel, you can substitute baby spinach. - A&MA&M

Serves 4

Prepare the Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Prepared Salmon - see below
  • 2 cups fresh sorrel leaves, chopped rough
  • 1/4 cup chervil
  • 1/2 cup chives, with flowers if possible
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper
  1. Adjust an oven rack to be at the very top of the oven. Preheat the broiler. Warm the plates (very important) in a sink of warm water, your extra oven (ha), or remove them from the just run dishwasher.
  2. Prepare all ingredients and stage. This dish comes together quickly and you don't want to be scrambling. Hold back the chive flowers, if you have them.
  3. When the oven is ready, start the sauce. In a large, wide skillet, melt the butter until it starts to toast. It should be golden brown. At this point, put the salmon under the broiler.
  4. Add the sorrel, chervil and chives to the butter and coat quickly. Allow them to wilt a little, and then pour in the cream. Bring to a boil and reduce just until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper, remembering you have seasoned the fish.
  5. The salmon should now be ready. (2-3 minutes) Watch it carefully the entire time it's in the oven -- it could take you as little as 30 seconds, depending on your oven.
  6. Dry the warm plates. Place four medallions per person on each plate and decorate with the sauce, being very generous. Sprinkle chive flower petals and serve with crusty bread.

Prepare the Salmon

  • 1 pound beautiful, wild, center cut salmon (Alaskan King is my preference here, but any wild caught salmon will do)
  1. Slice the salmon into thin medallions. A flexible salmon slicing knife is my choice, but any long thin knife will work well. It must be very sharp. Slice on a slight angle cutting away the skin as you go. Aim for 16 pieces.
  2. Place the salmon on a sheet pan lined with parchment and very lightly oiled. Brush the tops very lightly with oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the fish.
  3. PS I like to put the salmon skin under the broiler, too. Salt well. It's a delicious cook's snack.
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Comments (84) Questions (3)

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8 months ago ReeceAmy

OMG! What a fabulous dish! Served over brown rice for yesterday's lunch to rave reviews. Love how quickly it comes together. Thanks MrsWheelBarrow.

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about 1 year ago brooke

This was a delicious sauce! I used it on Mahi, over shitakes, snow peas, cherry tomatoes and zucchini matchsticks. I substituted coconut milk for the cream and it turned out great. Can't wait to eat it again!

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

So glad you liked it!

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about 1 year ago sherrylynne mitchell

I love anything to do with fish and especially salmon....and love lemony things..so sorrel has always been a fav....never had the two together.. actually my best fav is potato and sorrel soup ....but this may take over that spot..........lol..........I have often substituted baby spinach and lemon juice for sorrel .....when I cannot find it.......or it is out of season.......

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I'm so glad you enjoyed the combination!

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over 1 year ago Kate Schoeffel

It may not look so pretty but try frying the salmon skin until it is crisp and then chop it finely and sprinkle on top (with a few fried sage leaves scattered artistically about) - crunchy and delicious and full of omega 3

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over 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Delicious idea!

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almost 2 years ago Hilarybee

I made the sauce to serve with lemon garlic roasted chicken. It was beautiful, a snap to put together and went surprisingly well with my chicken. It really elevated the roast and looked beautiful in a gravy boat on the side.

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almost 2 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

What a nice idea! You know how it is.. you make something one way forever, and never think of other options? Well, you just made me say WOW. Thank you!

Hilary_sp1

almost 2 years ago Hilarybee

I did nothing! I rarely ever eat salmon, and just got my farmshare of chicken. CSA box had turnips, potatoes, garlic and sorrel.

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almost 2 years ago fosterOR

This turned out great for us. We also had trouble finding chevril and sorrel but had a bit of the latter (maybe almost a cup) growing outside and then used some baby arugula with lemon zest. We also used half the amount of cream and it turned out fine. Thank you!

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about 2 years ago ontilt

I made this the other night and it was a huge hit. We've been struggling to get our 5 year old daughter to try other foods beyond the standard American kids fare and she loved this dish as did we. The next day she whispered in my ear asking if we could have it again. Separating the skin was a bit challenging though.

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about 2 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I'm so glad you liked it! The skin part is hard if your knife isn't razor sharp. I've asked my fish guy to take the skin off - they've got all the right knives.

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about 2 years ago lschrive

I saw sorrel at the farmer's market and this recipe sprang to mind - really my first time trying sorrel on my own. What a lovely surprise! The sauce does come together fast...good thing when cooking with/for a toddler!

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about 2 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I've just seen your comment! I'm so glad you liked it. Now that it's spring, and sorrel is growing like mad in my garden, this is on the menu about once a week.

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over 2 years ago clintonhillbilly

Terrific recipe. I really enjoyed it. Thank you.

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over 2 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

So pleased! It's sorrel season and this recipe is calling to me, too.

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over 2 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Yay! So pleased! It's sorrel season and this recipe is calling to me, too.

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over 2 years ago Jaynerly

I swear I was thinking of this recipe only yesterday! I love it!

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over 2 years ago oregon cassie

Any substitute suggestions (that I can easily purchase) for chervil? Sorrel has been growing wild in my garden for years but I've never used it. This recipe has me inspired to try it.

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over 3 years ago estelle

This recipe was outstanding!!! I could not find chervil or sorrel anywhere, so used spinach and chives and it was still fabulous and extremely easy and quick. Cutting the salmon into medallions was a little awkward, but I loved how fast it cooked. My husband went crazy for this dish. Of course, anything with butter and heavy cream is tops on my list for yumminess. My hats off to the creator of this recipe! Thanks.

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over 3 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

So glad you enjoyed it. Next time cutting the medallions will be easier!

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over 3 years ago sarah k.

Yum! This salmon was delicious! My 4 year old daughter especially loved it, and asked for seconds. I couldn't find the sorrel, so I used baby spinach with the zest of a lemon. It really does come together so fast. The only thing I had trouble with was slicing the fish away from the skin. Otherwise, it was remarkably easy and elegant.

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almost 4 years ago kitchengardener

Although this has nothingnwhatsoever to do with the recipe which is delicious by the way, I just have to say I really enjoyed the piece with on NPR which aired this week about canning. its nice to know there's a resurgence!

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almost 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

thanks so much. it was really fun for me!

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about 4 years ago SallyCan

...though I can't see that spinach could take the place of the sorrel...it's just not the same...

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about 4 years ago SallyCan

My anemic sorrel finally produced enough to try your recipe, and it was lovely. I found the addition of the more sturdy herbs added a nice texture, though I do love the way sorrel breaks down and meshes into a sauce. I often make a sorrel sauce for the spring shad, think I may try yours next year...

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about 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Delighted your garden finally produced sufficient sorrel, and that you enjoyed the recipe. I like the way sorrel breaks down, but enjoy how the sturdier herbs keep the sauce a brighter green than the muddy green of cooked sorrel.

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about 4 years ago dymnyno

The farmer's market has some beautiful sorrel, so I am making this tomorrow night...fishmonger has fresh wild salmon too....lucky me!!!

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about 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Yay! So glad!

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about 4 years ago la mere moderne

I made this last night for dinner. This method of cooking salmon is definitely a keeper! So easy and the salmon was delicious. I did like the sauce although I might find a way to make a bit lighter (without the heavy cream). Do you have any other sauce suggestions? Thank you for sharing your recipe! It is going to go into my dinner rotation for my family.

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about 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I love how the creaminess is offset by the lemony sorrel flavor. Maybe use less cream? Or try very concentrated broth instead? Will be interested to hear about your experimentation.

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about 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Congrats, MrsW! On my way this morning to check out another nursery for sorrel!

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about 4 years ago cheese1227

Congrats, Cathy!

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about 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Thank you Christine!

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about 4 years ago Oui, Chef

Way to go Mrs. Wheelbarrow! Congratulations on another great win and recipe. My wife was just asking the other day if I had planted sorrel yet in the garden (oops... no, not yet dear). Will be sowing those seeds pronto so that we can enjoy this dish soon. - S

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about 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Thanks, Chef! Sorrel is such a treat in the garden, and will be ready super fast, once you get those seeds in the ground. See my notes below about planting in a planter.