Living in one of the greatest wine-producing states in the country, Mr. Cheese and I took the opportunity to introduce our daughter Cheese to her first ever wine tasting. Last Saturday found us at the Williamsburg Winery. We walked through the dark cellars, learned about grapes, the fermentation process, and how the quality of wine cannot be distinguished by a screw cap or a cork. By the time we left the winery and headed for dinner, we had each bought a couple of bottles of our favorite wine and were flushed from the tasting.
Although we left with a few different types, Mr. Cheese’s absolute favorite was the Chardonnay. On the way home from visiting our daughter Cheese, he kept talking about how excited he was to get home and cook with it. The first thing I considered was a cream sauce and while I initially thought about shrimp, we haven’t had salmon in a while.
When trying the Chardonnay again, lemon and fennel came to mind. Both would go great in a sauce and the sweetness of Chardonnay would be played up by the lemon. Although we are watching carbs, I bet the extra sauce on the plate is just divine when sopped up with a crusty piece of garlicky bread.
Salmon with Lemon & Fennel Cream Sauce
2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon unsweetened butter
1/2 sweet onion, thin sliced
1/2 fennel bulb, thin sliced
1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
1/2 lemon, thin sliced
1/4 cup Chardonnay
1 cup light cream
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 pounds salmon fillets, skin on
How to Make It!
The Sauce: In a medium sauce pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat and add the onions, garlic and fennel. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes, then add the lemon. Turn to just below medium heat and let cook for 10-15 minutes, until the onions are translucent and almost all liquid is evaporated.
While stirring gently with one hand, pour in the Chardonnay and continue to stir for another 20-30 seconds. Cook over medium-low heat and reduce the liquid by half. This will take about 10-15 minutes.
While stirring with one hand, slowly pour in the light cream and stir to combine. Keep heat at medium low and once you see a low bubble, add the nutmeg.
Put the sauce through a fine sieve or strainer to remove all onion, fennel, garlic and lemon bits. This should produce a very smooth sauce, that is thick enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon. Put the sauce back into the pan, on low heat.
Salt to taste and add the remaining teaspoon of butter, swirling it around to melt – just before serving.
The Salmon: Leave the skin on, as this produces the most tender, moist peice of fish. Rub a bit of olive oil on the top and sides of the salmon and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Cook on a medium rack in the oven, on low broil, for about 8-10 minutes.
Drizzle the sauce over the salmon and devour. Serves 6