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Spring (?) Herb Cooking

February 17, 2009 | Fish & Seafood,

First things first, before I jump into a recipe, I have to share my excitement – I got a fancy new Nikon D90 camera! I’ve been wanting to learn how to take “real” pictures for some time, and have drooled over some of my colleagues food photography on their blogs, and even have wanted to offer some cooking videos to my clients, and this new camera will give me the tools I need. So bear with me in the next few weeks as I mess around with the camera and try to learn things about aperture and shutter speed and ISO settings.

In the meantime, what’s the first clue that spring is either just around the corner or that we’re having the world’s most mild winter? It’s my backyard herb garden in full sprout mode. The parsley is, frankly, large enough to cut and cook with.

And while there isn’t yet enough tarragon for cooking, the mere fact that this tender stemmed herb is already pushing its way up through the dirt tells you it’s warm out there! Seeing that was my inspiration for sharing this salmon recipe with you from a fish class I taught last week.


Salmon with Mustard-Shallot-Tarragon Buerre Blanc
Serves 8

2-1/2 to 3 pounds salmon fillet, skinned
1/2 cup fresh tarragon, minced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 whole shallots, thinly sliced
2 cups white wine
2 tablespoons mustard, whole grain
1 cup heavy cream
8 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lay salmon filet in a large glass baking dish and sprinkle with 1/3 of the tarragon. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover tightly with foil and bake until just barely cooked through, about 20-30 minutes depending on thickness. While salmon is cooking, heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add shallots and saute until barely softened; do not let them caramelize. Deglaze pan with white wine and simmer until reduce slightly, about 5 minutes. Add mustard and heavy cream and bring to a simmer; cook about 2 minutes. Just before serving, add remaining tarragon, then whisk in butter 1 tablespoon at a time until incorporated into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon some of the sauce over a piece of salmon and serve immediately.

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