Friday, August 30, 2013

Sous Vide Salmon with Lemon-Butter Sauce

A great way to thaw out that salmon belly

Whether it is the frozen fillet salmon from Alaska or Costco - Sous Vide cooking presents a simple way to make spectacular salmon - and in this case with a lemon-butter sauce.

You can use this with individual salmon fillets or with a half a salmon as shown above that are frozen. Whether you get a fresh and wild salmon (my preference) or a farm raised salmon - having a frozen salmon works well.

But if you look at the hundreds of recipes for them they are all rather difficult, cumbersome and involve a lot of things you don't need to do.

Here is the simple recipe:
frozen salmon in the bag - put in the sous vide - it should be ready in anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and you won't over cook it

First here are a few myths about salmon that you should think about:

Myth 1: You need to place the salmon in a marinade to get the flavor - 
You don't.  So, don't think you have to thaw out the salmon and put it in some herb/shallot/butter/ginger/soy/lemon mixture for whatever length of time.  You want the salmon to stand alone with its pure flavor and the sauce should simply provide a balance to the rich, fatty flavor of the fish.

Myth 2: You need to brine the salmon to avoid the whitish albumin that comes out in Sous Vide - 
The albumin is a simple protein that when it is heated will compress and be white. If you put the salmon in a brine the chlorine will alter the delicate flavor of the fish. It will keep the albumin from coagulating (because the chloride ions will separate the proteins).  The salmon comes pre-brined in mother nature's ocean - you don't need to risk losing the flavor of the salmon

Sous Vide Prep

Heat the water to 125 degrees F.
Take the frozen salmon - already in the bag - and place into the Sous vide.
It will thaw in about 20 minutes and be ready in 30 minutes to an hour.  The joy of Sous Vide- you really won't over cook this fish (some have salmon at 140 degrees - and that is great for people who don't care about flavor).

Lemon-Butter Sauce

Ingredients
1 lemon (this will translate into about 6 tablespoons of lemon juice if you don't happen to have a tree in your backyard or access to lemons).
1/2 cup of butter
2 cloves of garlic- minced (or pre-minced garlic about 2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon of salt (if you use unsalted butter, if you use salted 2 teaspoons)
ground pepper to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)
2 tablespoons of chopped chives

Heat a sauce pan, add the butter and let it melt.  You want it to melt slowly- so medium-low heat works best. If it is burned then toss it and try again. Once melted add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds. Add the juice from one lemon and whisk it in.  Add the salt and pepper.  Put on a simmer.  Before you are ready to put over the salmon add the chives (cut to about 1/8 inch) - you can omit chives if you don't have them handy.

The sauce can be kept at a simmer  until you are ready.

Frying the salmon (its the skin)
Heat a skillet and once hot add some grape seed oil.

Remove the salmon from the Sous Vide. Cut the plastic so it opens completely and if you need to cut the fillets do so. Have some paper towels ready to place the salmon on and get rid of moisture.
Add the fillets to the skillet and allow the skin to crisp (about 2 minutes).  You do not need to turn the salmon to finish - it is already cooked.
Plate the salmon

For those who don't like crisp skin or don't want to fry

If you don't like crisp skin, or don't like skin at all- you can use a fish spatula to gently separate the skin from the salmon and place the fillets  on a plate.

Add the sauce on top of the salmon. Always good to garnish this with some chives from the garden or some lemon.

The lemon butter sauce was used for the salmon as well as the green beans
Vegetable Additions:

Total preference.
My mom would have some boiled potatoes (small) and use the sauce on them in addition or just butter. This is a very Norwegian way to eat fish - and I like it.

In my case I had some nice beans in a microwave steam pack that I added on the side (for the color). It made for an amazingly easy meal