A little everyday chit chat around the table...like we all used to do around my Grandmothers' tables when I was growing up. A little of this...a little of that...nothing too special...but as the years pass, all of it seems so. Come, sit at the Table, contribute, enjoy, stay as long as you want, leave when you need to, and return often!
Whisk Wednesdays: Saumon au Champagne (Salmon in Champagne Sauce)
The recipe prepared for this week is from Class 19, Part 1, Les Grillades et les Gratins (Grilling and Browning) and is Saumon au Champagne (Salmon in Champagne Sauce).It can befound in the cookbook Le Cordon Bleu At Home onpages 486.
We had our choice of recipes this week, between this and a chicken dish, so I picked this one as the recipe was in our book and our family loves salmon, so I figured there was a good chance I would make it again if it turned out well.
We all made fish stock this week for this class, and that was easy enough with the instructions as we have done many of these same steps for other recipes already. I didn't buy real champagne from France, etc., as that would be a bit costly, so I purchased an Italian Sparkling Wine and made due. (I'm still making due with that as I am sipping the remainder of the bottle as I write this...after Mark had a go with it at dinner, there isn't all that much left actually, maybe just enough to get one in a romantic mood early of an evening and all...LOL). It turned out well...so I can just imagine what the real champagne would do for this dish!
I used salmon filets as that was what was the freshest at the fish market, flown in yesterday, so that seemed a fine choice.
The actual sauce part was easy enough, techniques we have already learned, and I made sure to have the best ingredients as that helps immensely for the flavoring. Once again, the layering of flavors is the most amazing thing about the entire process. It makes all the difference in the world to cook with the layers and then bring them together. This is actually my favorite part each week, to see how all this layering comes together and what it does for even a simple dish. Very nice.
The most difficult part was combining the cream and egg and then mixing it into the hot sauce as I am always afraid that I am going to scramble it all and have fancy scrambled eggs in the end. I don't trust myself over direct heat with this, so I always pull out the double boiler for it (another two pots to wash, but worth it in my mind as I would be devastated to come all this way in a recipe and ruin it at the end!)...total pan/pot count this week, including that, was six (but only 4 if you are comfortable without the double boiler at the end). That said, it also took another three pots for linguine and broccoli...are you counting???!!
We all loved the sauce on the salmon...it was creamy and very tasty, lots of layers of flavor, complimenting the salmon just enough but not overpowering it at all. You are actually supposed to pour the sauce over the salmon, but I put it on the plate and then put the salmon down as some members of this family are really picky about things like having too much touching on a plate...you know, that if you pour it on top, you have no choice but to have sauce with every bite...whereas, if you put it on the bottom (the skin protects it and I don't eat the skin), then you have a choice whether you want a bit of sauce on the bite or not...I'm just saying...SOME MEMBERS of this family like the sauce on the side or the bottom...the above plate was mine just in case you had any doubts about who these picky people might be over here. Oh, and it was really good on the lemon garlic butter linguine also as a little seeped into that as well.
Thanks to fellow Whisk member, Michelle, for the suggestion of the scallion on top of the salmon and the chopped up olive relish on the side (okay, she said on the top, but again...it's a personal call, right?). It was fun...I was cooking and Clarice (my computer) was sitting there watching and Michelle was emailing me back and forth with these suggestions and describing olives and olive butter and what not...21st Century cooking together even though we live far, far apart!
Since we have been learning to make our stocks and freezing them, this recipe would go together in very little time if the stock was already made and ready to use.
Shari has been making her sauces and keeping them warm in a thermos, which is excellent if you want to make this dish for company...you could have most of it done and then just cook the salmon and sauce it at the last...very easy.
I have some sauce left, so I thought I would play around with a bit tomorrow to see if I could get it a bit thicker...mine was okay, but I just want to see what a thicker version would be like, and I love to mess around with stuff like this. (Note: This is the longest post ever...may have something to do with sipping this sparkling wine as I am writing this up...yep, just might.)
If you would like to see how the other Whisk Wednesday members fared in this class, clickhere, and then on the Whisk Wednesdays connect to individual bloggers, or better yet, come and join us! Shari has the ingredients posted on her site at the click, so while we can't post the recipe instructions, you can at least look at the ingredients, and I bet you can figure out a lot of it from there.
• Class 19, Part 2 (Post on Wednesday, December 10, 2008): Truite de Mer, Sauce Verte (Whole Poached Salmon Trout with Herbed Mayonnaise) pages 84-85