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Salmon in Champagne Sauce

I was served this memorable dish at the house of a Champagne producer in Rheims, and this is my version.

 Salmon in Champagne Sauce

  Serves 6

 6 middle-cut skinless fillets salmon (6-7 oz/175-200g each)
 9fl oz(250 ml) champagne
 3/4 oz (20g) butter, plus a little extra for greasing
 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
 3/4 oz (20g) plain flour
 7 fl oz(200ml) double cream
 6 teaspoons keta (salmon caviar), to garish
 a few sprigs of fresh dill, to garnish
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
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You will also need a large, deep frying pan with a diameter of 10 inches (25.5 cm), with a lid, to hold the salmon fillets in one layer

This recipe is from Delia's Christmas Easy Magazine, 2004 and The Delia Collection: Fish


First of all, smear a little butter over the base of the frying pan, then arrange the fillets in it. Now slowly pour the Champagne over the salmon (it will foam quite a lot, but not to worry), then bring it to a simmer over a medium heat.

Now spoon the Champagne over the top of the fillets before putting the lid on.

Then gently poach the salmon for about 8-10 minutes. The tip of a knife inserted into the thickest part will show if it is cooked when you just ease the flesh back.

While the salmon is poaching, melt the butter in a medium saucepan and cook the shallots in it over a gentle heat for 5-6 minutes, until softened and golden but not browned.

When the salmon is cooked, carefully lift the fillets on to a warmed dish, cover them with foil and keep warm.

Next, add the flour to the buttery shallot juices, stir it in and cook for 1-2 minutes more. Now gradually add the salmon poaching liquid to the pan, a little at a time, then blend in the double cream, whisking until the sauce is smooth.

Let it come to a simmer and cook for 1-2 minutes, then taste and add some seasoning.

Serve the salmon fillets on warmed plates with a little of the sauce spooned over and a teaspoon of keta and a sprig of dill on top, and hand the rest of the sauce round in a warmed jug.

I think steamed Anya potatoes tossed in butter and chives are a nice accompaniment, perhaps with fresh, shelled peas, or a green salad with plenty of cucumber and a lemony dressing.


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