This is my variation on Chef Eric Ripert’s Barely Cooked Salmon with Leeks and Red Wine Butter Sauce. The original recipe is amazing and an incredibly sophisticated dish for something so easy to prepare. However over the years, I’ve evolved the recipe into something I love even more–if that’s possible. What I most love about Ripert’s recipe is the way he poaches salmon, so that only one side is submerged. The other side is served almost raw. The effect creates one filet with two different textures and temperatures in the same bite–and you know how I feel about the sensuality of varied textures in a dish. But I embrace Ripert’s technique but for my version, I make a rosé wine sauce, and one that uses a little less butter than the original.
What to serve with your salmon
Ripert serves his salmon over leeks cooked in butter. I love the preparation but I’ve found a lot of people don’t appreciate leeks. So I often serve my Sexy Poached Salmon in Rosé Wine Sauce over my Roasted Cauliflower Puree with Shallots. (The flavor is like a light and airy version of mashed potatoes with just a hint of shallot.) Of course, a more traditional potato puree is also perfect.
A note on ingredient choice
Ripert flavors his dish with tarragon. I love tarragon but I’ve found that when you use rosé wine as opposed to red wine in the sauce, the flavor of tarragon tends to overpower the delicacy of the wine. If you love tarragon, you’ll appreciate it. But if that’s not the flavor you’re going for, skip the tarragon and instead garnish with just a touch of fresh chives.
The recipe serves four but if I’m just making dinner for two, I make two filets and save half the sauce for another night. (You know I love leftovers!)
This recipe offers layers of flavor in an incredibly simple salmon dish. Topped with a Rosé wine sauce, it's sophisticated and romantic. Serve it atop sauteed leeks, cauliflower puree or pureed potatoes.
- ½ cup rosé wine
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 4 sprigs tarragon (optional)*
- 4 tbsp cold unsalted butter
- 4 6-oz skinless salmon fillets
- sea salt
- 1 tsp sliced tarragon or chives
- cracked black pepper and coarse salt
- Combine the rosé wine, red wine vinegar, chopped shallot and tarragon (if using). Bring the wine to a boil and reduce the mixture to about 5 tablespoons.
- Set aside.
- To make the salmon, put about ½ cup of water in a large sauté pan (just enough to cover the surface).
- Season the water with salt and bring to simmer over medium heat.
- Season the salmon on both sides with salt and black pepper.
- Place the salmon in the pan; cook at a bare simmer until the top of the fish is just warm to the touch (about 5-7 minutes).
- While the salmon is cooking, finish the red wine butter sauce by whisking in the remaining butter 1 tablespoon at a time over low heat. Whisk until each tablespoon is fully emulsified before adding the next.
- Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper while continuing to whisk.
- Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve and keep warm.
- Remove the salmon from the pan and drain each fillet on a paper towel.
- Plate the salmon and sprinkle with either tarragon or chives, (see note). Sprinkle a line of ground black pepper and coarse salt over each fillet.
- Spoon sauce around and serve immediately.
*If you use tarragon in the sauce, garnish the final dish with tarragon. But if you’re skipping the tarragon in the sauce, garnish the filet with fresh chives.
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