Thursday, December 01, 2011

Poached Salmon with Truffles and Shrimp in Cream Sauce (Page 290)

RECIPE #1284

  • Date: Saturday, October 15, 2011 -- 6pm
  • Location: East Lansing, MI
  • Kitchen: Our House
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B

I have been having trouble finding black winter truffles, and so I put off making this recipe for quite a while. The recipe indicates that fresh, jarred, or canned black winter truffles can be used, so against my better judgment I finally just ordered some jarred truffles online. I started preparing this dish by deveining shrimp, then cooking the shrimp (in their shells) in butter. I then shelled the shrimp. I put the shells and butter in a food processor, along with Cognac and water, and pureed until smooth. I then strained the mixture through a sieve. I sliced salmon fillets and curled them into circles, tying them with string to hold their shape. I cut slits in the salmon and put a strip of truffle in each slit. I seasoned the salmon and poached it in water and white wine. Meanwhile I started the sauce. I simmered white wine and shallots, then added cream and simmered longer. I strained the sauce through a sieve, then added minced truffles and the truffle juice from the jar and simmered. I whisked in some arrowroot and Cognac, then seasoned with salt and pepper. I added the shrimp to the sauce, as well as the shrimp butter (made from the shrimp shells). I seasoned the sauce then served it with the salmon.

This dish was OK. The sauce was very rich and flavorful. While the shrimp shells definitely added flavor to the sauce, the shrimp themselves didn't add much to the dish. Indeed I would have preferred the dish without them. The biggest disappointment, though, was with the truffles. The recipe indicated that jarred truffles were acceptable, and I purchased exactly what the recipe called for. However, the truffles weren't very flavorful and didn't contribute much to the dish. Incorporating fresh porcini mushrooms would have contributed a lot more flavor. I am sure that fresh truffles would have added tremendously to the dish, but my experience with jarred truffles wasn't positive. Overall the sauce was tasty and the dish as a whole was fine, but neither of us thought it was anything spectacular.

The recipe in The Book is very similar to this recipe.

Only 9 recipes left to go!

This was the last recipe I had left to make in the Fish and Shellfish section of The Book! Good seafood is one of the harder things to find in small towns in the Midwest (like those that I have lived in for the last four and a half years!), so there were many times when I thought I would never make it all the way through this section. But I did! I took every opportunity I could to buy and prepare seafood when we traveled to the coasts, and when we lived in Berkeley, California for four months in 2010 I instituted the All-Seafood-All-The-Time plan, which meant we basically ate nothing that didn't come from the sea! It all paid off because I made it through the 95 fish and shellfish recipes in this section. I didn't love them all, but there were definitely some wonderful stand-outs. In no particular order, my five favorite recipes from this section were:
  • Oven-Poached Halibut in Olive Oil -- I used to say, "I don't like seafood," but this recipe made me stop saying it. This halibut was amazing! It's true, seafood in general isn't my favorite, but there are few things in life I would rather eat than this dish. It was so good, in fact, that it motivated me to choose halibut as one of the two entree options at our wedding dinner. This recipe was easy, and extremely delicious!
  • Louisiana Crawfish Boil -- This recipe stands out in my mind both for being delicious and for being a wonderfully fun experience to make and serve. We ordered 20 pounds of live crawfish, boiled them up, and dumped them onto the porch table (along with potatoes, corn, etc...). We sat around the table with a dozen or so good friends and ate crawfish until the sun went down. The crawfish were tasty and the evening was absolutely lovely. My special gentleman has been asking ever since when our next crawfish boil will be!
  • Clam, Potato, and Bacon Potpie -- I am a sucker for any recipe with the word "potpie" in it! I do love pastry... Nonetheless I wasn't looking forward to this one, as I dread any recipe with the word "clam" in it. I have to admit, though, this was a tasty dish. The clams weren't overpowering. The filling was rich and flavorful and the pastry was perfect. My special gentleman ate this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner until it was gone. Yum!
  • Coulibiac -- This salmon wrapped in pastry was so very, very delicious. It will forever stand out in my mind as the ultimate comfort food. On a difficult day this fall my special gentleman pulled the leftovers of this dish out of the freezer and it was exactly what I needed. Warm, delicious, and supremely comforting! It was a time-consuming recipe to make, but worth it!
  • Bluefish with Lemon Caper-Brown Butter Sauce -- I made this recipe way back in 2006 with the Wednesday dinner crew. I was in graduate school at the time and a group of us would get together on Wednesday nights and make a big meal from The Book. Bluefish isn't a particularly well-reputed type of seafood, but in this recipe it really shone. The brown butter sauce with capers was delicious and the fish was perfectly cooked. Yum!
I must admit, I grew frustrated at times with the seemingly endless seafood recipes -- there are really many more than just the 95 in this section as there are seafood recipes in the Soups section, the Salads section, the Hors D'Oeuvres and First Courses section, etc... But now that I am done with them all, I value the experience of having made them. I can now throw a live lobster into a pot of boiling water without flinching. I can shuck a clam no problem. And most importantly, I think I can now appreciate seafood more than I ever did before.

I have now finished 16 sections of The Book, with only 5 sections left to finish off! Crazy!!

It has been a sad time for our family these past few days. My grandfather died late last week. It's impossible to put into words what an amazing man he was. He was so much to so many people: a father, a teacher, a coach, a mentor... a grandpa. He accepted people for who they were, without judgment. He was truly an amazing grandparent and I am shocked and deeply, deeply saddened by his death. We went to Wisconsin over the weekend for his funeral, yet it still doesn't seem real to me. It makes me sad to post this blog update as he was a faithful follower of my blog, but he won't be sitting at his computer reading this tomorrow. He won't be at Christmas this year. He won't be at the Sheepshead table with family ever again. And I am overwhelmed by a sense of loss and a feeling that everything is going to be different. It is a sad time.


kingshearte said...

I'm sorry about your grandfather. *Hugs*

Anonymous said...

I love your website!

When you're all finished, would you consider doing a post about all of your favorite recipes in each section of the book (like you did here for the seafood)? Maybe you could copy and paste from your old posts to save time. I'd love a final recap at the end.

Thanks so much for sharing all your ideas on this blog.

Teena said...

kingshearte: Thanks so much!

Anon: Thanks! Yes, I am planning on doing a best-of-the-best post at the end with great recipes from all sections of The Book!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic!!! Thank you so much. I look forward to seeing that and marking my cookbook.

Kay Shepherd said...

So sorry to hear about the loss of your Grandfather. I lost mine a few months ago, too. :-(