Roasted Salmon with Sorrel Beurre Blanc

May 1, 2009

Alaskan wild salmon works beautifully with spring sorrel.

Roasted Salmon with Sorrel Beurre Blanc 

Varietal: Chardonnay (Unoaked) 

Serves 4 

Sorrel, a lemony perennial herb that appears in the garden in early spring, plays a starring role along with another Northwest favorite-wild salmon-in this recipe from Chef Rocky Maselli of Marché restaurant (, located in the bucolic university town of Eugene, Oregon. Sorrel is known for its sour, acidic taste; when used in chef Rocky’s sauce, it turns a lovely celadon color with a slightly sour lemon taste and a nice hint of white wine and shallot. A good-quality unoaked Chardonnay, with lots of citrus and pineapple and a fresh, lively mouthfeel, pairs perfectly. 

2 tablespoons minced shallots 
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy whipping cream
4 large fresh sorrel leaves
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Kosher salt 
Freshly ground white pepper
Four 6-ounce center-cut salmon fillets, rinsed, drained, and patted dry
Olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. 

2. To make the beurre blanc, combine the shallot and wine in a small nonreactive saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until the liquid is reduced to about 1 teaspoon, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the cream and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is reduced to the consistency of maple syrup and coats the back of a spoon, 8 to 10 minutes. While the cream is reducing, remove the ribs from the sorrel leaves and cut them into a chiffonade by stacking the leaves, rolling them like a cigar, and cutting crosswise into thin ribbons.

3. Stir the sorrel into the reduced cream, remove from the heat, and whisk in the butter piece by piece, incorporating the butter completely after each addition. Place a fine-meshed sieve over a mixing bowl, add the sauce, and strain, pressing out the solids with the back of a spoon to remove as much liquid as possible. (Alternatively, chef Rocky suggests you can use a hand-held electric mixer, a blender, or a food processor for this step; the result will be a smoother sauce that will not have to be strained.) Season to taste with salt and the white pepper. Keep the sauce warm (a double boiler or a water bath works well for this) while you prepare the salmon.

4. Ten minutes before cooking, preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

5. With a clean pastry brush, brush the salmon fillets lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle generously with salt and the black pepper. Place on the lined baking sheet and cook 12 to 15 minutes, or until they reach the desired doneness. 

6. To serve, transfer the salmon fillets to 4 dinner plates and spoon the sorrel sauce over the top.

Cook’s Hint: Sorrel is available in limited supply year-round in the specialty herb section of produce departments or at your neighborhood farmers’ market, although its peak season is in the spring. Look for bright-green, crisp leaves; store for up to three days in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Chef Rocky suggests serving the dish with chive mashed potatoes or roasted new potatoes and spring vegetables such as asparagus, baby carrots, fava beans, or peas.

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