This variation of a ‘light and sunny as a spring day’ Rick Stein recipe totally changed our opinion about salmon. It is the Grace Kelly of fish dishes; elegant, sophisticated and a joy to look at.
It is also delectably delicious and a perfect summery Saturday night dish.
Until we tried this recipe we thought of salmon as a bit of a bland fish without much of a personality.
Salmon in a cava sauce totally converted us, making us realise that too many chefs in restaurants over the years had done the beautifully coloured fish a disservice – cooking all the tasty goodness out of it.
The trick is to keep the fish simple and concentrate on the sauce. Whilst Rick Stein is rich enough to make this with Champagne, we use a bottle of cheap cava. Although always tasty enough to warrant a ‘wow, how good is that’ we’ve never quite managed to get it to look like it does in the photograph in Rick’s recipe book; buttery yellow and thick. Last night we halved the ingredients for the sauce and eureka, perfect.
Ingredients for Salmon in a Cava Sauce (for two people)
- 2 new potatoes (actually do as many as you like, we’re keeping the pot intake low)
- 2 salmon fillets
- Bottle of Cava (you only need about 3 fluid ounces, drinking the rest of cava helps with creativity)
- 1/2 small onion (should be a couple of shallots but they’re crazy expensive where we are).
- ½ pint (300ml) fish stock
- A handful of chives (don’t be shy). Chop, leaving four chives for essential decoration
- ¼ teaspoon of sugar
- ½ oz butter
- 3 fluid ounces of double cream
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Preparing Salmon in a Cava Sauce
We serve this with new potatoes boiled in their skins and a handful of green beans. The whole thing can be flung together whilst the potatoes are boiling.
Keep the salmon relatively thin. Our salmon fillets always come with skin attached, so that’s cut away and the fillets are carefully sliced in half so that they’re about 1cm thick.
Chop onions/shallots finely.
Melt ¼ oz of butter in a small pan, add chopped onions/shallots and cook till softened.
Once onions are soft add 2 fl oz of cava and boil for two minutes.
Add stock and sugar then boil rapidly until reduced by half.
Pour in half of the cream and continue to boil until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Turn to low, or even off. You don’t want this chunky, it doesn’t matter if it’s a bit on the runny side.
At this point put the salmon fillets on a greased tray, brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle salt.
Cook each side for 2 minutes under a hot grill to make sure it’s still perfectly moist and full of flavour.
Whisk the remaining cream, with a tablespoon of cava, into stiff peaks.
With the salmon grilling, bring the sauce back to the boil and whisk the remaining butter and cream into the sauce.
Add the chopped chives.
Dish the salmon and veg and pour the sauce over the fish as artistically as you like, garnishing with the remaining chives (the green looks just peachy against the pink salmon).
Serve and consume with what’s left of the cava.
We feel it’s important to reward our efforts with a glass of cava during cooking and also think this classy dish deserves a suitably cool soundtrack. Salmon, cava and Stevie Ray Vaughan – a perfect Saturday night combo.
Jack is co-owner, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Google+