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Author Notes: Salmon is a fish that never really enticed me; it was always boring and seemed to be lacking that extra something to make it more appealing. Lately, fish has been strewn through every magazine and cookbook because the possibilities are endless and it creates a fast, healthy meal. There are so many ways to prepare fish and its so versatile that I figured I might as well give salmon a shot again. The Italian cooking bible, Silverspoon, was my first guide to cooking fish. I remember making a fish fumet for halibut and loved how the broth brought both flavor and moisture to the fish. That memory came to me when I began to see recipes for poaching fish in olive oil. The reviews raved about the silky texture and the juicy meat, so I figured I give it a try. To start out, I figured that I would need a broth; something to finish the salmon off in and also a liquid to braise the broccoli in. After looking through various cookbooks, I came across a mushroom jus in Modernist Cuisine. Why not! Poaching the salmon in the olive oil created the silkiest mouth feel while the it stayed perfectly moist and tender. Finishing it in the mushroom jus helped to add a nice browned surface with a lot of added flavor. To brighten the dish up, I created a pea shout coulis that rounded out the flavor of the mushroom. Together, the dish shed new light on an old classic for me. —Dominick
For the mushroom jus/ pea shoot coulis
cups Crimini mushrooms, slices thinly
tablespoons Unsalted butter
cup Shallots, minced
cup White wine (Sauvignon Blanc)
tablespoons Sherry wine
ounces Pea shoots
cup Chicken stock
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan with a lid. Add the shallots and cook on high until slightly browned, about 2 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and continue to cook at high heat until the mushrooms become browned, about 10 minutes.
- Once the mushrooms are cooked down, add the water and both wines. Stir and cover. Allow the mixture to cook, covered, at a simmer for 35 to 40 minutes.
- While the jus is cooking, prepare an ice bath. Set a bowl in the ice bath and put a strainer over the bowl.
- After the mushrooms have finished cooking, strain the liquid into the bowl in the ice bath and allow to cool to room temperature, stirring frequently. Add salt to taste. Discard the solids. After the jus has come to room temperature, place covered in a fridge.
- For the pea shoot coulis
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Set a cold water bath aside with a strainer submerged in the water.
- Once boiling, add a generous pinch or so of salt. Set a few pea shoots aside for garnishing. Add 1/3 of the remaining pea shoots to the boiling water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the shoots are tender.
- With slotted spoon, remove the shoots from the boiling water and place into the water bath. Add the remaining pea shoots in two separate additions.
- Once the shoots have cooled, raise the strainer out of the ice bath and squeeze them gently to remove excess water.
- Place the shoots into a bowl and add the chicken stock. With an emersion blender (or a regular blender) liquify the shoots.
- Run the liquid through a fine sieve into another bowl.
- Place the bowl, covered, in the fridge.
For the salmon
Fresh salmon filets, skin on
cups Olive oil
ounces Broccoli rabe
tablespoons Unsalted butter
Pea shoot coulis
- Preheat an oven to 225 degrees. Measure the height of the salmon to determine how high the oil needs to be to cover the filets (6-8 cups). Fill a cast iron skillet (or any ovenproof pan) with oil slightly over the height of the salmon.
- Heat the oil to 120 degrees on a cooktop and add the filets to the oil, making sure they are covered completely.
- Place the skillet or pan into the oven and allow to cook for approximately 25 minutes, until the white fat from the salmon begins to come to the surface.
- When the salmon has 12 minutes to go, add 1/2 cup of the mushroom jus to a saucepan and bring to simmer on high. In a separate saucepan, add the coulis and bring to a simmer.
- Add the broccoli rabe and the butter to the jus and cook on high, basting to broccoli often, until the stems are tender, but still crunchy, about 8 minutes. At the same time, add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter to the coulis and allow to melt. Salt to taste and set aside.
- Once the broccoli rabe is cooked, place in a dish and cover with foil. ( The salmon should be about done in the oven).
- Add another 1/4 cup of the jus to the saucepan and bring to a simmer at medium. Bring the salmon out of the oven and place it into the pan, skin side down.
- Cook the salmon skin side down lightly for a minute or so, basting the top with the jus. Flip the salmon and allow to cook briefly, until the top has a nice golden brown color, about 2 minutes. Remove the skin and set the filets in a dish and cover. Season with salt to taste.
- To plate, add the coulis to a plate and allow to spread around. Place the broccoli rabe down, about 8 per person. Place the salmon on the broccoli and garnish with the leftover pea shoots. Enjoy!