Salmon in tarragon cream sauce; taku choi; Thai jasmine rice – 19 June 2011

Well, I had half a cup of heavy cream to find a use for, and also a richly leaved stem of tarragon I didn’t use in the potato salad, so this was the answer. It’s a recipe from Fifteen-Minute Meals by Emalee Chapman, a gift from my late mother in law at least two decades ago.

This can’t really be done in 15 minutes b/c it takes that long just to preheat the oven. However, after that, a thin enough fillet of salmon will indeed cook in 12 minutes. In addition we had Thai jasmine rice, cooked with about 2:1 water:rice (for less than 15 minutes), and some taku choi, cut into perhaps 1″ pieces and sauteed in olive oil, then steamed on low with a bit of water, covered, till the dinner was ready. This is pretty much how I cook all the chois.

The salmon recipe, modified to how I actually did it: wash and dry a rich stem of tarragon and pull it into stemlets, put these in the cooking vessel and add most of 1/2 cup of heavy cream, keeping the cookpan tilted so that the tarragon is immersed in the cream. Leave this while you prep the rest of the meal, to give the cream the maximum amount of time to absorb the tarragon flavor. [The original recipe has no “pre-soak”.] Add two fillets of salmon, skin removed, each about 1/4 pound before skinning. Swoosh the cream around so it gets all over the salmon, and be sure the tarragon is also all over the cream. Grate some pepper over the top. Cook at 400 degrees 12 minutes. My notes from a previous use of this recipe say to use thin fillets b/c thick ones don’t cook well; I asked the fish person at the Bowl to cut me two of the very ends of the salmon pieces, where they taper from a thickness of perhaps 1/2″ maximum to almost nothing. This worked very well. She also skinned them for me. I spooned all the sauce and all the tarragon over the rice on our plates, and put the salmon up against it.

We had the rest of the People’s Wine Revolution “Bea’s Knees” zin/syrah with this, and I thought it went quite well.

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