Salmon over Creamed Leeks with Apple Butter Sauce
- Apple Butter Sauce:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 2 apples (your choice of variety), peeled, cored and diced small
- 2 cups apple juice
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup water
- Cream sauce for leeks:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 cup white wine
- 6 leeks, white and tender green parts only, cut into 12 pieces lengthwise and thoroughly soaked in salt water to release grit
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 (8-ounce) salmon fillets
- Coarse sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Cayenne pepper, to taste
- 2 to 3 tablespoons oil
- 1/4 pound vermicelli, deep-fried or 2 tablespoons chopped lemon thyme, for garnish
DirectionsFor the apple butter sauce:
Melt butter in a saute pan and add apples, cooking over medium heat for a few minutes until they begin to soften. Add apple juice, orange juice and rice wine vinegar, cover and allow the apples to cook until very soft. Then uncover and allow liquid to reduce to about 1/3 of what you started with. Puree in a blender or food processor. Create a slurry by gradually whisking cornstarch into about 1/4 cup water and blend the slurry into the sauce. Return the sauce to the pot and allow to cook for a few minutes to thicken. Season with salt, if needed.
Begin the creamed leeks while the apples are cooking.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saute pan over medium heat and saute onion until translucent. Deglaze the pan with wine and reduce until the liquid is almost all gone. (While you are waiting for the wine to reduce, start cooking the leeks.) Cook the leeks in simmering water until tender. Drain and set aside. When the wine has mostly evaporated, stir in the cream, season with salt and pepper, and lower heat to a simmer to allow to reduce and thicken. Strain this sauce and pour over the leeks and set aside briefly in a warm place.
For the fish:
Season the salmon fillets with coarse sea salt and both peppers. Place a little oil into the saute pan and bring to smoking point (you need a hot pan in order to get a crispy outside). Cook the salmon, skin side down leaving undisturbed (no peeking) for about 5 minutes, or until the skin begins to get crispy, then turn and begin cooking for 4 minutes more. This allows the surface of the fish to "caramelize." (You may need more time on the salmon depending on the thickness). You can, if you wish, finish the salmon in a preheated 350 degree F oven. However, DO NOT OVERCOOK THE SALMON. Once you touch the flesh and it springs back up, it's cooked. Remember, because of carryover cooking, the fish will continue to cook after it is removed from the oven.
Reheat the apple butter sauce if necessary. Place 4 lengths of the creamed leeks on one side the serving plate, with a salmon fillet on the other. Spoon apple butter sauce on the fish and garnish with lemon thyme. (Please note: In the episode, since we had the deep- fryer going, we deep-fried some vermicelli pasta for a garnish with a flourish. You can do the same or use lemon thyme.)