Champagne Poached Salmon with Champagne Cream Sauce

Champagne Poached Salmon w Champagne sauce

One thing that always bugs me about newspaper food sections and some food blogs (and I must admit that I’ve fallen into this trap on occasion) is that I suddenly find that some holiday or special occasion is immanent and I don’t have one or more recipes ready to go. By that I mean something I’ve already made and am comfortable with….something I can make without worrying and serve to my guests with pride and confidence.

Maybe there’s a recipe I’ve been dying to try or one I’ve just read about and set out to make – only I’m missing a few critical ingredients!

Here’s an easy and elegant poached salmon that you can do for practice without worry – and find that it is so easy that you are ready to make it for a dinner party or special occasion without giving it a second thought. Or, you can make it the day before and serve it cold!  So it’s not only elegant, but versatile, too! Perfect to make to have ready to serve while you watch tomorrow’s Oscars!

Champagne Poached Salmon with Champagne Cream Sauce

Poached Salmon:

  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 c champagne
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 6 sprigs fresh dill
  • 3 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 5  6 oz. salmon fillets, skinned or salmon steaks *
  • 2 Tbsp. minced, fresh dill

Champagne Cream Sauce:

  • 1/2 c shallots, chopped
  • 1 c champagne
  • 1-1/2 c heavy cream
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

To Poach the salmon:

Grease a fish poacher or large, straight sided sauté pan with 1 Tbsp. butter. Add the champagne, shallot, dill sprigs, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and gently simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the salmon fillets or steaks to the poacher or pan. Sprinkle minced dill over salmon. Spoon some of the liquid over the salmon Cook uncovered about 10-15 minutes (time depends on the thickness) or until the salmon is cooked through (it may need a little longer if the filets are thick in the middle; steaks will cook evenly in about this time). Spoon the liquid over the salmon periodically as they gently simmer in the poaching liquid. They will become a lighter color as they become more fully cooked. Using a slotted spatula, remove the fillets from the pan.

Place on a serving dish to cool; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Champagne Sauce:

Combine shallots and champagne in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cok about 6 minutes or until liquid is almost completely evaporated. Add the heavy cream and bring just to a boil Reduce heat and simmer about 3 – 4 minutes or until cream thickens and reduces by about half. Whisk in the butter until it is completely incorporated.

Pour mixture through a fine sieve, pressing as much liquid through as you can without getting any of the solids. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill, covered, and serve with the salmon.

* You can also use a whole piece of salmon that fits your poaching pan. Be careful as you remove the salmon to prevent it breaking. Poaching time may take longer.

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