Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Salmon with white chocolate sauce

I wish I could remember why I bought a half-pound chunk of white chocolate. I doesn't seem like something I'd buy without some purpose in mind, but no idea. As long as I've got it, I may as well carve off chunks and make some use of it. I've been noticing savory white chocolate sauces showing up on cooking competition shows for the last year or so and I've been wanting to try it before it gets too passe. I found a couple straightforward recipes on http://www.cacaoweb.net. As you already know from the subject of this post, I'm trying the salmon recipe first. I'll try the other in a day or two.

I'm not making any changes to the Cacaoweb recipes to start other then cutting them down to my single serving to start out. Once I get a feel for the ingredient I'll improvise a little more. Here's the first recipe a few annotations:

Salmon with White Chocolate Sauce
Yield: 1 serving

3/4 tablespoons butter
3/4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup fish broth [I've got some homemade fish stock in the freezer]
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (unsweetened)
1/2 oz (15 g) white chocolate
1/4 tablespoon fresh, green pepper corns (or dried red pepper corns) [I picked red peppercorns out of the peppercorn mixes I have to make up a quarter teaspoon.]
1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 pounds filet of salmon cut into 4-5 oz (120-150 g) portions
Salt and pepper

Make first white sauce with white chocolate, then cook the salmon:

1. Melt 3/4 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
2. When the butter has melted add the flour and mix well.
3. Add fish broth, stirring constantly to incorporate and cook the flour.
4. Let the sauce cook on low heat for approximately 15 minutes, stir regularly. [I found that the sauce thickened up too much over the fifteen minutes so I added more stock to keep it saucy.]
5. Add lemon juice, white chocolate and pepper corns.
6. Add salt to taste. [There's no 'meanwhile' here so I assume you're supposed to keep the sauce warm for the next ten minutes while you cook the salmon for the chocolate to melt and the flavors meld. My salmon was done in five, but the sauce seems well incorporated.]
7. Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in a nonstick pan over medium heat.
8. Cook the pieces of salmon for about five minutes per side until it has browned. Add salt and pepper to taste. [I think it works better if you salt and pepper the salmon before adding it to the pan. Also five minutes per side seems like an awful lot.]
9. Serve the salmon with rice, sauce and cooked asparagus or broccoli. [or squash]

So, you want to know, how did it taste?

First off, the combination of white chocolate and lemon is synergistic on its own as I've found earlier when making ice cream, but once you add fish broth you really can't recognize white chocolate in the mix until the lingering finish, and even then you have to be looking for it. The citrus brightness hits first, with a savory unctuousness coming in underneath. There's a definite, but inarticulate, seafood flavor there that pairs well with the salmon. That fades too leaving a sweeter finish with the white chocolate closer to the top. Oh, and the red peppercorns give another off-kilter flavor component somewhere between black and Szechuan peppercorns when you bite into one.

Overall, it's not at all bad, but it's not knocking my socks off either. I'd call it an interesting novelty. But everyone's socks are different so maybe it'll do the trick on yours. I could easily see this as someone's favorite sauce, just not mine. It's easy; try it yourself and see what you think.


kat said...

hmmm, I'm so not sure about that one

billjac said...

It's substantially better than it sounds and an interestingly new flavor experience. Well worth an experimental try even if it isn't going to make it into your regular repertoire.