Seared Salmon Orange-Champagne Sauce
The key to cooking perfect salmon is controlling the temperature of your skillet. A hot skillet will seal in the oils within the fish allowing for the fish to remain moist. Pan sauces are a wonderful technique to master as they enrich the flavors of the sauce by incorporating the natural pan juices.
Yield: 4 servings
4 (5-ounce) salmon fillets, skinless and pin-bones removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, more if needed
1 small shallot, minced
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1 cup Champagne or sparkling wine
1/4 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, placing a rack in the center of the oven.
To cook salmon: Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Place an oven proof skillet on the stove over a moderate heat and add the remaining oil. When the oil is shimmering, carefully place the salmon fillets, top side down first, in the pan. Cook without moving the salmon, until brown, about 2 minutes. Using a fish spatula, turn the fish. Transfer the salmon to oven. Cook until the salmon is just starting to flake, but is still pink in the middle, about 7 minutes. Transfer the salmon to a plate and loosely tent with foil and set aside.
To prepare the sauce: Return the skillet to the stove over a moderate heat, and add additional oil if the pan is dry. When the oil is shimmering, add the shallots and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the Champagne, bring the liquid to a boil and cook, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a silicone spatula. Reduce liquid to a third, pour in the cream and continue to cook until the mixture has thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter in a little at a time. Stir in the juice, zest and chives, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
To serve: Place the salmon onto warmed dinner plates. Spoon the champagne-orange sauce over the salmon and serve immediately.
Truffle-Infused Mash Potatoes
The russet potato, also known as the baking or Idaho potato, has low moisture and high starch, qualities that yield wonderfully light, fluffy mashed potatoes. They key to that fluffy texture is to process the hot potatoes in a ricer or food mill. It's also important to simmer rather than boil potatoes for even cooking.
Yield: 4 servings
2-1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon truffle salt, or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
In a large pot, combine the potatoes and add water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Lower the heat to medium, cover partially, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Drain in a colander.
Meanwhile in a small saucepan, combine the cream, milk and butter over a medium-low heat and warm until the butter just melts, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Set a potato ricer on the rim of the pot used to cook the potatoes. Half fill the ricer with cooked potatoes and press them through. Repeat until all the potatoes have been pureed.
Using a silicone spatula, add the hot liquid mixture and truffle salt and mix by hand until incorporated. Taste and adjust seasoning potatoes with additional salt and pepper.
To serve: Mound the potatoes in a warmed serving bowl and serve immediately.