Using red wine to cook fish seems unusual, but its tart fruitiness cuts the richness of salmon and plays off the meaty mushrooms and bacon.
- 1 slice uncooked bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
- 2 ounces small cremini mushrooms, cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 3/4 cup)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small leek, white and light-green parts, finely chopped (1/2 cup; see NOTE)
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped (1 tablespoon)
- 1 cup light red wine, such as pinot noir or Beaujolais
- 1 sprig thyme
- 6 ounces 1-inch-thick, skin-on salmon fillet (pin bones removed), preferably center-cut, rinsed and patted dry
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a medium skillet over medium heat, add the bacon, and cook for about 8 minutes or until crisp. Transfer the bacon to a small plate; pour all but a teaspoon of the bacon fat in the skillet into a small bowl.
Return the skillet to the stove; increase the heat to medium-high. Add 1 teaspoon of the butter and the mushrooms, then season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms release their moisture and it then evaporates. Add to the bacon on the plate.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add the leek and shallot, stirring to coat with the butter and bacon fat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are starting to brown.
Add the wine and thyme; bring to a boil. Cook for about 3 or 4 minutes or until the wine has reduced by half.
Season the salmon lightly on both sides with salt and pepper, then place in the skillet, skin side down. Cover tightly and transfer to the oven. Quick-braise for 7 to 8 minutes, checking to make sure the liquid is barely bubbling. (If it is bubbling too rapidly, decrease the oven temperature slightly.) The salmon will be done when it is opaque on the outside yet slightly translucent in the center.
Transfer the fillet to a serving plate; cover loosely with aluminum foil while you finish the sauce.
Use a fine-mesh strainer to strain the liquid into a bowl, pressing on the vegetables and thyme to extract as much liquid as possible; discard the solids. Return the strained liquid to the skillet and place over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes, until the wine has reduced by one-third, then whisk in the remaining teaspoon of butter. Add the reserved bacon and mushrooms, stirring to combine. Cook for a minute or so until heated through; taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
Spoon the sauce over the salmon. Serve hot.
NOTE: To clean leeks for this recipe, discard outer layer and trim the root end and dark-green leaves. Cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces, place in a bowl and cover with lots of cool water. Let sit for about 10 minutes to let any sediment fall to the bottom of the bowl; drain and pat dry with paper towels.
Adapted from Molly Stevens's "All About Braising" (W.W. Norton, 2004).
Tested by Joe Yonan.
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