Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Divine Salmon with Dill Cream

Peter made an absolutely fantastic dinner this evening: Salmon with Dill Cream and Riced Potatoes. These flavors are classic Swedish, and for good reason, because they are delicious together. It is a perfect meal for this time of year. The cream sauce gives it a satisfying richness which warms you against the cold weather, while the dill gives it freshness, alluding to the coming spring. . The meal is simplicity itself to make. It hardly needs a recipe. But here is one:

1 or 2 large wild salmon fillets, to feed 2 to 4 people, with the skin on
1/2 pint cream
potatoes for 2 to 4 persons
one large bunch dill
salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce: Chop up the dill, not too finely, and add to the cream in a saucepan. Salt and pepper to taste. Boil up the cream, and let simmer slowly and reduce while you prepare the rest of the meal. To finish the sauce, add the juices from the pan after you have fried the fish.

For the potatoes: Peel and quarter the potatoes and boil in salted water for 20 minutes or until a fork stuck in a potato slides out easily. Drain water from pot. To hold the potatoes until you are ready with everything else, just put a dishcloth or paper towel over the pot and the lid on top of that. The potatoes will stay hot for at least half an hour and the towel will absorb extra water so the potatoes do not become soggy. When ready to serve, pass the potatoes through a potato ricer. This is basically a kind of press, which you can buy inexpensively at any good cook store. This tool produces a fluffy texture which is a perfect vehicle for the sauce. If you do not have a ricer, you can just mash the potatoes, but the texture will not be as good.

For the fish: With a thin knife, slice the skin off of the meat and save. Salt and pepper the salmon fillet generously on both sides and rub the spices in. Heat a pan until very hot and put in the butter. Fry the fish briefly on each side to get a good surface, then lower the heat and cook for a couple of minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the fish, until it is done how you like it. Take the fish out of the pan and put on a plate to rest. Meanwhile, salt and pepper the skin on both sides, rubbing in the salt well. Put the skin in the pan that you fried the salmon in and fry on both sides until crispy. Be careful to watch it and don't let it burn.

To serve: Cut a nice chunk of the salmon for each person, and plate with a mound of riced potatoes. Drizzly the sauce generously over the salmon and potatoes. Slice the fried skin into thin slices, about 1/4 inch thick, and top the salmon with a few slices per person. The skin is optional, but really delicious and provides a satisfying crunch. For our family, the skin is the best part, and we invariably fight over the last pieces.

If you don't enjoy this fish, well...it is hard to imagine and you must have a sad life!

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