I think salmon is one of those things that's easy to mess up, so I'm going to show you how to do it right. This dish can double as a weekday meal or an entertaining recipe—and it'll give you that restaurant feel with just a simple plate of food at home.
For the brown butter: In a small skillet, melt 8 tablespoons butter over medium low heat until brown and bubbly with a nutty aroma. As the butter cooks, the milk solids will separate on the bottom and turn brown. Remove from heat, add lemon zest, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt, and set aside.For the white bean puree: In a small saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat, add the minced shallot and saute until soft and translucent. Add white beans and chicken stock and bring to a boil. When boiling, remove from heat and add to a blender along with a few pinches of salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Puree, scrape into a small bowl, and cover with the butter wrapper to prevent a skin from forming on the top.
Cook the salmon: Trim the thin belly flaps off the salmon (save for another use), so the pieces are uniform in size. Season with salt and wrap in paper towels to remove any moisture. In a skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, and then two salmon fillets, skin side down. (Hold the fish in place for several seconds so the skin doesn’t curl.) Cook for 3 minutes; then flip and add 1 tablespoon olive oil, ginger, and bay leaves. Baste the fish by tilting the pan and spooning the juices over the fish as it cooks, 1 more minute. Remove, set aside, and repeat with remaining fish fillets. Discard ginger and bay leaves.
Finish the dish: In the same skillet the fish was cooked in, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium/high heat. Add the bok choy and a pinch of salt and cook for 1 1/2 minutes, until soft. To serve, place a large dollop of white bean puree on a platter and a few spoonfuls of bok choy next to it. Add pecans and drizzle the brown butter on top. Finish by placing the salmon, skin side up on top, and serve.
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