Slow-Roasted Salmon With Parsley-Garlic Sauce on a Bed of Mashed Potatoes
Written by The Oregonian   
Wednesday, 27 April 2005 05:02
Simply gorgeous on the plate, a glistening fillet of salmon sits atop a mound of buttery mashed potatoes surrounded by an emerald green herb-infused butter sauce.

A novice cook can make this entree and feel like a three-star chef serving it. The simple technique of blanching parsley and then pureeing it is the basis for a scrumptious, easy-to-make sauce. No need to worry about the sauce separating -- it won't. If you make the sauce ahead, just set it aside and rewarm it just before serving. Freeze the extra parsley puree and use it to make this sauce, or add a little to vegetable soup, or swirl some into a seafood risotto.

Kosher or sea salt

1 cup tightly packed fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves, plus 2 tablespoons minced

3 tablespoons water, plus 1/4 cup (divided)

3 large russet potatoes, peeled and quartered (about 2 pounds total)

4 salmon fillets, skin and pin bones removed (about 6 ounces each)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks; divided)

2/3 cup milk, warmed

Freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Fill a 2-quart saucepan two-thirds full of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon salt to the boiling water and then add the 1 cup parsley. Cook just until tender and bright green, about 11/2 minutes. Drain the parsley in a sieve. Run cold water over the parsley until it is cool. Squeeze the parsley to remove the excess water. Place in a blender, add the 3 tablespoons water, and blend until pureed. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Partially cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon salt and reduce the heat so the water boils gently. Cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, 12 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Arrange the salmon on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Rub each fillet with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with a little salt and cayenne pepper. Set aside. Melt 1/2 cup butter in a small saute pan. Set aside and keep warm.

When the potatoes are tender, place the salmon in the oven to bake and set a timer for 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander. Using a ricer or potato masher, mash the potatoes. Stir the melted butter into the potatoes and then gradually add the milk. Beat until smooth and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and keep warm.

While the salmon is baking, bring the 1/4 cup water to a boil in the saute pan you used to melt the butter. Reduce the heat to low. Cut the remaining 1/2 cup butter into 4 pieces and, using a whisk, stir the butter into the water a chunk at a time. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the parsley puree, the garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a couple of grinds of pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Set aside and keep warm.

Check the salmon. The salmon is done when the fat between the layers begins to turn whitish and opaque and the fish flakes slightly. An instant-read thermometer inserted in the center should register 125 degrees to 130 degrees (see note).

To serve, place a portion of mashed potatoes in the center of warmed dinner plates or shallow pasta bowls. Top with a piece of salmon and drizzle sauce around each plate. Garnish with a little minced parsley and serve immediately.

Editor's note: While Diane Morgan prefers to cook her salmon just until it reaches 125 to 130 degrees, please note that the FDA recommends cooking fish until it reaches 145 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

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