Thursday, August 11, 2011

Salmon with Lemon-Pepper Sauce and Watercress-Herb Salad

    Look!  No brown!  Well, a little brown but there is only so much I can do about the color of my dining room table.  But it's still a pretty dish, huh?  Salmon and greens look so pretty together.  There were supposed to be lemons on this dish too, which would have been even prettier, but we ran out.  Oops.  This is what happens when I am busy with work.  Suddenly we run out of staples.  Right now we are out of lemons, scallions and coffee (which Alex would consider a staple and I would not).  But we have plenty of yogurt, sandwich bread, peanut butter, OJ and ice cream (Alex's staples) because he ran out and stocked up yesterday.  I go to the grocery store for things like salmon, pomegranate seeds, dark chocolate and cockles.  And then I go to the farmers' market for tomatoes, fresh corn, and other randomness (like the lemon basil, Thai basil and avocado squash I picked up today).  Alex goes to the grocery for yogurt and sandwich bread.  Clearly we have different priorities.  Haha.  Every household needs someone like Alex to buy the bare necessities for daily survival and someone like me to keep track of what we have, what we need and then go to the grocery store and buy all sorts of randomness.  You never know when you might need some creme fraiche for example.  Speaking of creme fraiche, that ugly white smear to the left of the salmon is the creme fraiche-based lemon pepper sauce for the salmon.  See?  It totally comes in handy.

    This salmon dish was one of the more interesting meals we have made recently.  The salmon on its own is more than a little sweet.  But when you take a bite with the watercress-herb salad, it works really well.  The same thing goes for the lemon-pepper sauce.  All of the components are a little overpowering (in one way or another) on their own, but they work together really well when you combine them all.  The sweet, richness of the salmon gets balanced against the freshness and acidity of the watercress-herb salad, which is then balanced against the brightness of the lemon-pepper sauce.  Somehow it all works.  Is it my favorite salmon dish ever?  No.  But it's pretty and it's tasty.
    Recipe after the jump!

    Salmon with Lemon-Pepper Sauce and Watercress-Herb Salad
    Bon Appetit
    March 2008

    1 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
    3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided
    1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel, divided
    2 tablespoons honey
    1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil plus additional for brushing
    2 tablespoons chopped shallot
    6 6-ounce salmon fillets
    1 1/2 cups (lightly packed) watercress leaves and small sprigs
    1/4 cup small fresh dill sprigs
    1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves
    Fleur de sel*
    6 lemon wedges

      Whisk crème fraîche, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon lemon peel in small bowl. Season with salt and generous amount of pepper.

      Whisk honey, 1 tablespoon olive oil, shallot, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon lemon peel in 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Add salmon fillets and turn to coat. Cover and chill at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour, turning salmon fillets occasionally.

      Position rack in top third of oven and preheat to 400°F. Line large baking sheet with foil and brush with olive oil. Transfer salmon fillets, with some marinade still clinging, to rimmed baking sheet. Roast until salmon is just opaque in center, about 14 minutes.
       Meanwhile, toss watercress leaves and sprigs, dill sprigs, tarragon leaves, remaining 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in medium bowl. Season to taste with fleur de sel and pepper.

      Place 1 salmon fillet on each of 6 plates. Top with watercress salad. Drizzle with lemon-pepper sauce and garnish with lemon wedges. Serve, passing additional sauce alongside.

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