Seared Salmon with Creamy Leeks and Mushrooms

DSC_0237I am really, really crazy about salmon.  I eat embarrassing amounts of it sashimi style, make it once a week for my family, and until recently I would order it whenever we went to Francesca’s, craving the fabulous crispy sear that eluded me at home.  But guess what?  I have discovered the salmon searing trick and now I’m sharing it with you.  When you try it (and you really should) you’ll fall in love and wonder how you ever did it any other way.DSC_0211I’ve prepared salmon this way several times now, and paired it with everything from spiced lentils to noodles in a coconut curry broth.  You just can’t go wrong.  This time I came up with a creamy, lemony leek and mushroom sauce and spooned it over soft polenta, but mashed potatoes or pasta would be pretty fantastic, too.

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Seared Salmon with Creamy Leeks and Mushrooms

serves 6

  • 1 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated, chopped, and broth reserved
  • 3 leeks, sliced in half lengthwise then cut into 1/4 inch segments and sloshed around in cold water to remove grit
  • 1 pound fresh baby portabello mushrooms, sliced (though any variety of fresh mushroom would work)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (I used Sauv Blanc)
  • 1/2 cup reserved mushroom broth
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 6 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, skin on

-For the Creamy Leeks and Mushrooms:

  1. Rehydrate dried shiitakes: place dried mushrooms in a bowl and pour one cup boiling water over the mushrooms.  Let steep for half an hour.  Remove from the bowl and squeeze excess moisture from the mushrooms back into the bowl.  Set mushrooms on cutting board and strain mushroom liquid through a fine mesh sieve lined with paper towel to remove grit. Reserve liquid and chop rehydrated mushrooms.
  2. Heat butter and olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add washed and chopped leeks to the pan and cook for 10 minutes or until leeks have softened, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in fresh mushrooms, chopped shiitakes, tarragon, wine, 1/2 cup reserved mushroom broth, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper.  Cook for 10-15 minutes or until almost all of the liquid is gone, stirring occasionally.
  4. Reduce heat to low, stir in half-and-half and lemon zest, and simmer until sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes.  Stir in 1/4 cup lemon juice and remove from heat.

-For the Seared Salmon (learned from this recipe):

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

  1. Pat dry salmon fillets.  Rub fillets with olive oil and season tops generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a dry, heavy oven-proof skillet (I used cast iron) over high heat for four minutes.  Add salmon fillets flesh side down and cook for two minutes without moving fish.
  3. Flip salmon fillets over, place pan in oven and cook for 4-5 minutes.  Do not overcook!

To finish the dish, place salmon on a generous helping of polenta, mashed potatoes or pasta and top with creamy leeks and mushrooms.

recipe and photos via the aesthete and the dilettante

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