Thursday, March 29, 2012

Poached Salmon with Creamy Leeks

This recipe has all the heaviness you want in comfort food and all the lightness you'd like for a healthy meal.  Soft poached salmon and buttery leeks makes for a perfect one pot meal that goes very nicely with white wine.

What you'll need:
2 bunches leeks (pick ones with the most white-green ratio because you'll be using only the white parts)
1/4 cup half and half or light whipped cream
1 shallot
1 cup chicken stock (plus a little bit more if your leeks need it)
1 salmon fillet for each person (about 4 oz per person)
olive oil, salt, pepper

Cut the leeks on a bias up to the green, and toss the dark green tough parts.  Run the leeks under cold water and left them soak for a while.  Leeks are really dirty so you'll want to let them soak for a bit to get all the grime out.
Heat up some olive oil on medium heat and place the salmon skin down on the pan.  You want the skin as crispy as possible but you are going to cook the fish later so don't cook it all the way through.  Remove the fish to a plate as soon as the skin is cooked.

Roughly chop the shallot and saute in a few tablespoons of olive oil in the same pan until translucent and everything smells delicious.  Then, put all the leeks in with the shallots and saute until a bit caramelized. You may need to add a little bit more of olive oil at this point if the pan is dry. 
Put a cup of chicken stock in with the leeks and let it all simmer on low heat.  

When the chicken stock has mostly reduced, taste the leeks.  They should be soft and buttery.  If they're not, add a bit more stock and allow to reduce, repeating until leeks are the proper consistency.  Add cream and salt and pepper to taste.  
Gently place the salmon filets on top of the leeks and cover the pan for 3 minutes.  Check the salmon to make sure its done to your liking.  3 minutes cooked the salmon almost all the way through, leaving the fish moist and flaky.
Serve immediately with some crusty bread and wine!
**As a side note, the creamy leeks are delicious on their own and can be used as a pasta sauce.  Toss the leeks with some fresh linguine and top with grated parmesan--yum!

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