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Original Message
"OTCC: Pan-Roasted Salmon with Red Wine Gastrique"
Posted by frodis on 03-25-11 at 11:36 PM
LAST EDITED ON 03-26-11 AT 11:26 AM (EST)

Or Pan-Roasted Chicken with Red Wine Gastrique, for those who don't eat fish.

This recipe is from The Minimalist Cooks Dinner by Mark Bittman. I tweaked it a little. This is the first time I made it, so this OTCC is a cook-along with Frodis. It's very, very simple and there are TONS of places to tweak it to your liking.

1/2 cup of sugar
2 cups pinot noir
1 sprig of rosemary + 1 teaspoon of chopped rosemary
4 salmon steaks, 6oz each
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper
a little bit of oil (high-heat, like canola, walnut, etc.)*

* Bittman's recipe doesn't include the oil, he used a non-stick skillet for his fish. I don't have an oven-safe nonstick skillet, so I used stainless steel, and therefore used oil. If you use non-stick, you can go without the oil.

1 saucepan with a thick, heavy bottom. Nonstick is good.
1 skillet/sautee pan


1. In the saucepan, pour in the sugar and heat over medium heat until the sugar melts and turns brown. Stir as little as possible, just kind of let it melt.

You don't want to sugar to burn, so you want the heat medium and even just on low so that the sugar melts evenly. You want to to get pretty liquidey and dark honey-colored.

Careful. Melted sugar can burn so keep it away from your skin. Don't taste it.

2. When the sugar is melted, turn off the stove and then add the 2 cups of red wine to the melted sugar. Stand back while you do this - it will steam up and bubble up a lot and look a little scary for a moment but then it will calm down. Turn the heat back on to high and stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves.

When you add the wine to the melted sugar, the sugar will harden up. (Mark Bittman doesn't mention this part.) It will form sort of a hard crust in the bottom of the pot. Give it a moment, it'll start to melt again. Keep stirring.

When the sugar is all dissolved, add the rosemary sprig to the sauce. Continue to boil and stir occasionally until the sauce is thick and syrupey and is down to about 1/2 cup.

3. Once the sauce is boiling away, pre-heat your oven to 450F.

4. Season the salmon with salt and pepper on both sides. Put a bit of oil in to the sautee pan and heat until screamin' hot. Place the salmon steaks into the sautee pan, and immediately put the pan into the hot oven. Roast for 3 minutes. Remove pan, flip salmon, put it back in the oven for 3 more minutes. Remove from oven and keep warm.

5. When the sauce is reduced to about 1/2 cup, turn the heat to low. Remove the rosemary sprig. Add the 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon of butter, and season with salt and pepper. Stir gently until the butter is melted.

6. Serve salmon with sauce and garnish with chopped rosemary.

My Notes
I used Merlot. I think it would have been better with pinot noir or something spicier than merlot. Merlot, reduced down by a lot, was a little too grape-jelly-ey.

The salmon probably could've been done entirely on the stove by just putting a lid on the pan.

I served it with asparagus and some leftover brown rice/veggie blend from earlier in the week.

Mr. Fro is not a big fan of cooking fish at home. I made this because he wasn't supposed to be home in time for dinner and was going to grab dinner elsewhere. As it happened, he did make it home so he had one of the pieces of salmon. He pronounced it "pretty good" which is high praise from him for at-home-fish.

I didn't have rosemary so I used dried thyme.

My oven was at 425F because the handles on my pan are only safe up to 425F. I cooked the salmon for 4-5 minutes on each side (instead of 3) because I like my salmon a little more well-done. 3 minutes will get you a medium-rare piece of salmon.

You could easily do this with chicken.

I'm looking forward to OT will dress up this fairly simple sauteed meat & sauce dish. This one is for all of you whose recipes I've shamelessly altered.


Edited to add note about the oil/non-stick skillet and add the word "sprig" to the rosemary in step 2 (don't add the chopped at this point, just the stalk) and to put in the note about the oven temp I used.


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