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Pan-Roasted Salmon with Sauce Soubise
Pan-Roasted Salmon with Sauce Soubise Photo courtesy of Meshelle Armstrong

With its in-house bakery, butcher shop and wine bar, Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong's new boutique food market, Society Fair, packs plenty of attractions under one roof. The element that really caught our eye, however, was the Alexandria, Virginia, spot's demonstration kitchen. In the intimate space, chef Trey Massey prepares themed three-course dinners that engage guests and educate them about everything from ethnic cooking to classic recipes like this sauce soubise. Massey's version of the velvety onion sauce gets added richness from bacon and pairs well with pan-roasted salmon and braised greens to create a company-worthy meal anyone can master at home.

Makes 4 main-course servings

4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)

4 large shallots, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons unsalted Irish butter (such as Kerrygold brand)

1 tablespoon whole-wheat pastry flour

1 cup whole milk

1 sprig thyme

1 bay leaf

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 skinless Alaskan salmon fillets (6 ounces each), preferably wild-caught

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Braised greens, for serving (optional)

1. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.

2. Add the shallots, garlic and butter to the saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter melts and the shallots are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 1 minute.

3. Add the milk and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the thyme, bay leaf and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and season with salt. Reduce the heat to low to keep the sauce warm, stirring frequently. Just before serving, stir the bacon into the sauce.

4. Meanwhile, generously season the salmon with salt and pepper. In a cast-iron skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Arrange the salmon in the skillet, increase the heat to medium-high and cook until browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Gently flip the salmon and cook until cooked through, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate to rest.

5. Divide the sauce among four shallow bowls and top with braised greens, if serving. Arrange a salmon fillet on top of the greens and serve immediately.

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