Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pan Seared Salmon with Chanterelle Mushrooms

Fall is such a great time for mushrooms. I can't get over the price of chanterelles at my local market. My friend, Venus, presented me with an enormous bag full of them just a few weeks ago. Vince and I had mushrooms with scrambled, Timpano di Patate (a pie made from mashed potatoes, roasted mushrooms and smoked mozzarella), a big, thick rib-eye steak with sauteed mushrooms and I still had some leftover.

I've always liked the earthy flavor of mushrooms with the rich flavor of salmon, so I splurged on a piece of King Salmon and went to town. This recipe is quick and satisfying. It feels nice enough to serve to company, but fast enough of a weeknight dinner.

Pan Roasted Salmon with Chanterelle Mushrooms

8 ounces chanterelle mushroom, cleaned
and thickly sliced (see note)
2 tbsp ghee or clarified butter
2 6-ounce salmon filets
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup slivered shallots
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp minced garlic

Preheat oven to 425F. Season salmon filets liberally with salt and pepper

Heat a large, heavy, oven-safe saute pan over medium high heat.  When the pan is hot, add the ghee and swirl to coat.  Place the seasoned salmon skin-side up in the pan and sear for 2 minutes or until the salmon loosens easily from the pan. (Don't pry it. If you've got enough oil in the pan, the salmon will release when it's completely seared.)

Turn the salmon over so the skin-side is down. Toss in the sliced mushrooms, slivered shallot and thyme.  Place the pan in the oven and roast until the salmon is medium-rare (the outer flesh will flake with a fork but will still be glossy orange at the thickest part of the filet) for approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the salmon to a warm plate and tent loosely with aluminum foil.

Return the saute pan to the burner over medium-high heat. Add the sherry and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes until most of the sherry has evaporated.  Add the chicken stock and garlic and simmer for another 3 minutes or so.  Taste the mushrooms for additional salt and pepper.

Divide the mushroom mixture between two serving plate, top each with a salmon filet and serve.

Chefs note: If your mushrooms are very clean, you simply need to brush them before cooking. However, if they are dirty, you'll have to wash them. Forget the crazy idea that you can't wash mushrooms! Remember, they probably got some rain while they were growing and that didn’t wash away their flavor.Wash the chanterelles hours, or ideally a day before you need them. Turn on the tap to a low flow, hold the mushroom under the water and brush lightly to clean with a new paintbrush. Put the cleaned mushrooms into a colander to drip until all are cleaned.