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Salmon in Cream and Muscadet Sauce (Saumon à la Crème au Muscadet)

Salmon in Cream and Muscadet Sauce (Saumon à la Crème au Muscadet)
Muscadet, a very dry white wine, is produced in a relatively small area in the westernmost point of the Loire Valley, where the Loire River reaches the Atlantic at Nantes. The salmon, of course, comes from the river.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups Muscadet or other dry white wine
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 6 center-cut salmon fillets, about 1 1/2 lb. total,
      skin removed
  • 2/3 cup crème fraîche
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh chervil
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh chives
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh tarragon

Directions:

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the tomatoes, shallots, wine and 1/2 tsp. each of the salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by one-third, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. When it foams, add the salmon fillets. Sear until golden, about 2 minutes, then turn the fillets and sear the other side until golden and just opaque throughout, about 2 minutes more. Sprinkle the salmon with the remaining 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper and transfer to warmed individual plates.

Strain the tomato mixture through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a bowl, pressing against the pulp to extract all the juice. Stir in the crème fraîche, then taste and adjust the seasonings. Return the sauce to the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens a bit, 2 to 3 minutes.

Pour the sauce over the salmon and sprinkle with the chervil, chives and tarragon. Serve immediately.
Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring France, by Georgeanne Brennan (Time-Life Books, 1999).