This is a simple yet elegant preparation of salmon. Make the corn salsa and the sauce a day ahead. Although saffron is expensive, a small amount goes a long way. You can usually purchase a small amount at most specialty food stores.
For the salmon
- Four 6-ounce portions of salmon filets(skinned)
- approximately 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup white wine (to deglaze the pan)
- 3 ears of corn, husked with silk removed
- 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cored and diced
- 4 green onions, white and half of green parts diced
- 1 small red onion, peeled and diced
- 1 large tomato, cored, seeded and chopped
- or 8 grape tomatoes, quartered
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon or lime juice
- 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
Saffron Chardonnay Sauce
- 2 shallots, peeled and chopped
- 3 cups of Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc - Use a chardonnay that is not too oaky or a Sauvignon Blanc
- 2 tablespoons honey
- a generous pinch of saffron
- 2 cups of heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon butter
- salt and pepper to taste
To prepare the salsa
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a large piece of foil on a baking sheet. Brush the corn with the oil. Place the husked corn on the baking sheet. Encase the corn loosely in the foil. The corn should be completely encased.
Place in the oven and roast for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size of the corn cobs. Remove and cool. Using a knife, remove the corn from the cob and reserve in a large mixing bowl. Add ll the other salsa ingredients to the cooled corn and combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To prepare the Saffron Chardonnay Sauce
Place the shallots, chardonnay, saffron and honey in a sauce pot. Heat to medium and let simmer until reduced by half.
Add the heavy cream and simmer on low heat until reduced by one third. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The sauce should be slightly thickened. If serving immediately, whisk in the butter and a few tablespoons of the corn salsa.
If not using immediately, cool to room temperature and store in the refrigerator for up to two days. When ready to serve, reheat the sauce. When hot, whisk the butter and a few tablespoons of the corn salsa.
To skin a salmon filet
I usually skin whole filets of salmon and then cut them into 6-ounce portions. Although this is not always practical for the home cook, you can do it by taking a sharp filet knife and going between the skin and flesh of the salmon, starting at the tail end. Hold the salmon by the tail end and glide your knife under the salmon flesh. Try not to “saw” back and forth when doing this. Rather, use a straight, even stroke to separate the skin from the fish. Check out my salmon wellington video to see how to skin a fish filet.
To pan roast the salmon
When ready to cook, place the olive oil in a large saute pan and heat. (if possible, a nice quality non-stick saute pan works the best). When hot, add the salmon, flesh side down. The pan should be hot enough that the salmon does not stick. Cover and let cook for several minutes. If your saute pan is small, use several pans to accommodate the4 filets.
Carefully flip the fish over and cook for several minutes. Take the pan off of the heat. Deglaze the pan by placing the white wine in the pan with the fish in it.. The wine should cover the sides of the fish by about 1/2 inch. Be careful – the wine may cause some flames in the pan so make sure the fish is off of the heat when adding it. If you do have some flames, cover the pan. This will make the flames die down.
Return to the heat, cover the let simmer. Watch carefully so the wine does not completely evaporate. You want the fish to slowly cook in the wine. The wine will help the fish stay moist. The fish should be completely cooked in about 4 to 5 minutes depending on the thickness of the salmon.
Place some corn salsa on each of four serving plates. Pour sauce around the salsa. Place salmon on top of the salsa and garnish with fresh herbs and an edible flower.