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Salmon and Sorrel Troisgros



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Salmon and Sorrel Troisgros

Daniel Boulud's
Cafe Boulud Cookbook:
French-American Recipes
for the Home Cook

by Daniel Boulud and Dorie Greenspan,
1999, Scribner

“The celebrated Troisgros brothers created thousands of dishes for their
Michelin-three-star restaurant in Roanne, France, but this dish, Salmon
and Sorrel Sauce, became a touchstone in French culture. It, more than
any dish created by any other chef, marked the passage from the classic
cooking of Escoffier to ‘la nouvelle cuisine’.  Today, with food so spare
and light, it might be hard to imagine the excitement – and discord – this
dish provoked. The components of the dish were not the newsmakers –
they’d been used singly and in combination for years by chefs in France.
It was the way in which the salmon was cooked and the manner in which
the plate was arranged that rocked the culinary establishment. In the old
order of things, the salmon would have been poached and placed on a warm
plate, and the sauce would have been spooned over it. In the Troisgros’s
instant classic, the salmon was flash-cooked in a pan, a radically new way
to cook fish, and it was the sauce that was put on the plate – the salmon
topped it. It may not sound like much now, but then, it changed the way
food was experienced.
If the dish did nothing but start a revolution, it would be interesting enough,
but it is, in fact, a pleasure to eat. The salmon, cut into thin slices (you can
cut the salmon at home with a long thin very sharp knife or ask the fish-
monger to do this for you), is seared on the outside so that the inside – what
little of it there is – is pink, velvety, and only just warm; the cream sauce is
rich, smooth, and sorely sour. Saumon à l’Oseille is still on the Troisgros
menu and still, as the Michelin guide would say, worth a journey.
This dish is a replica of the original Troisgros recipe; or, at least, it comes
as close as a French dish made in America with American ingredients can
come. While many of the ingredients in this country are very comparable to
those found in France, cream is the exception, so my sauce may taste just
a little different from the Troisgros sauce.”

Makes 4 servings

the sauce:
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
22 medium white mushrooms, trimmed but
stems left on, cleaned, and finely chopped
1 large shallot, peeled, trimmed, finely
chopped, rinsed, and dried
1 cup dry white wine
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 cup heavy cream
2 ounces sorrel, stemmed, washed, dried,
and cut into very thin strands

1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, then add the
mushrooms, shallot, and white wine and season with salt and pepper.
Bring the wine to a boil and cook, keeping a close eye on the pan,
until the wine has completely evaporated. Pour in the heavy cream,
lower the heat – it should be at its lowest possible setting – and let
cook very slowly for about 15 minutes, until the cream is just thick
enough to barely coat a metal spoon. Strain the cream into another
small saucepan. (You can make the sauce to this point up to 2 hours
ahead and keep it covered at room temperature.
2. When you are ready to sear the fish, add the sorrel to the cream and
put the saucepan over medium heat. Bring the cream just to the boil
and then pull the pan from the heat; taste and season with salt and
pepper if needed.

the salmon:

22 center-cut salmon fillets, each about
1 1/4 inches thick, 6 inches long, and
4 to 5 inches wide (size is more
important than weight here, but
each fillet will probably be
about 3/4 pound)
Salt and freshly ground white pepper/font>

1. Using a long knife with a very sharp thin blade, slice each salmon fillet
into 2 scallops by cutting across the top of the salmon – you’re cutting
horizontally in order to have 4 slices that are each about 6 inches long,
4 to 5 inches wide, and about 1/3 inch thick. The sliced salmon will look
like the fish version of veal scaloppini, and, because you cut the salmon
across, not downward, you’ll have a scrap of flesh and skin left over.
Season the fillets on one side with salt and pepper.
2. Coat the bottom of 4 warm dinner plates with sorrel sauce and keep
them warm while you cook the fish.
3. Heat a large nonstick – it must be nonstick – sauté pan or skillet (or 2 smaller pans) over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, slip in the
fillets. Cook for no more than 2 minutes (seriously) – you want the
salmon to be only half-cooked (the edges will be cooked and the
center will be raw, but warm) – then flip the fish over for 10 seconds
before serving.

to serve: Quickly lift the salmon out of the pan and place one fillet in
the center of each sauce-napped plate. Serve immediately – there’s
no time to lose – before the salmon cools.

to drink: The classic accompaniment to this nouvelle classic dish is
a Pouilly-Fuissé.

Featured Archive Recipes:
Crisp Paupiettes of Sea Bass
in Barolo Sauce (Boulud)

Crisp and Spicy Salmon with a
Vegetable Julienne (Anne Willan)

Pan-Roasted Salmon with
Burgundy-Rosemary Butter

Peppercorn-Crusted Salmon with
White Wine Butter Sauce

Spiced Steamed Salmon with
Chutney and Chard (Boulud)


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