Chef Marc Forgione’s earthy, creamy and complex dish with cauliflower puree is perfectly elegant for brunch, lunch and dinner.
Author: Marc Forgione
Salmon en Croute
- For the Sauce Proposal, first make a brown butter: Add 4 tablespoons unsalted butter to a saute pan over medium heat; cook until solids brown, 3–5 minutes. Immediately transfer brown butter to an ice bath, whisking to cool the butter quickly. Whisking is essential—if brown butter is not whisked while cooling, it will separate. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Preheat an oven to 350ºF; position a rack in the middle of the oven.
- In a shallow baking pan, toast hazelnuts 10–12 minutes or until fragrant. Remove skins by rubbing hazelnuts with a kitchen towel. Cool nuts, then place in a plastic bag. Using a mallet or rolling pin, pound nuts to crush them. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the toasted hazelnuts for Sauce Proposal; reserve the rest for future use.
- In a saute pan, place enough olive oil to cover the bottom; set over high heat. Just before oil starts to smoke, add enough florets to cover the bottom fo the pan in one layer. Reduce heat to medium and cook 2–3 minutes. Once florets begin to brown slightly, add 3 tablespoons butter. Let butter melt, gently shake the pan, season with salt, and transfer florets to a plate lined with a paper towel. (Repeat if necessary to saute the remaining florets.) Set cooked florets aside.
- In a 2-quart saucepan, bring lime juice and soy sauce to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and gradually whisk in remaining 3 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until well-incorporated and emulsified.
- Whisk in reserved brown butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove from heat and blend in an immersion or stand blender. Keep Proposal Sauce warm until ready to serve.
- To make the Cauliflower Puree, chop cauliflower and then, in a saucepot over medium heat, cook it with cream and a pinch of salt until cauliflower is cooked through, about 25 minutes. When cooked, reserve the cooking liquid.
- Transfer the cauliflower to a blender and pulse a few times. Add cooking liquid a couple of tablespoons at a time (to avoid spillage) until the mixture is smooth and light.
- To prepare the Salmon en Croute, remove skin and bloodline from fillets and preheat an oven to 350ºF; position a rack in the middle of the oven.
- Rinse and pat salmon fillets dry. Brush one side of fillets with egg white. Chop parsley and reserve half for Sauce Proposal. Sprinkle parsley and red pepper flakes over the egg-white side of fillets. Lay bread slices out and place fillets over the bread, herb side down. Trim bread to fit fillets and gently flip fillets over so bread is on top.
- In a large skillet, add enough oil to cover the bottom of the skillet, and set over medium heat. Season two fillets with salt and pepper, and add them to the pan, bread side down. Carefully watch the salmon; once edges begin to brown, transfer to a Silpat® baking mat or parchment-lined baking pan, bread side up. Pour oil from skillet on top of fish. Repeat this step to cook the remaining fillets.
- Allow fillets to sit out for 5 minutes together, so they're all roughly the same temperature when they go into the oven.
- Bake fish in preheated oven for about 4 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the fish comes out without having to use much force.
- To serve, divide the Salmon en Croute among 4 plates and spoon Cauliflower Puree aside the fish.
- Chop capers, then just before serving, stir sauteed cauliflower and Romanesco florets (or substitute regular cauliflower florets) into reserved Sauce Proposal, along with raisins, capers, parsley and red pepper flakes. Drizzle Sauce Proposal over each Salmon en Croute, and serve.