Because salmon is full-flavored enough to stand up to red wine, I've paired it here with a beurre rouge, a creamy red wine sauce that's finished by swirling in butter, enriching the sauce and giving it a silken, shiny finish. Cracked black pepper and balsamic vinegar work together to balance the sauce.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1 thyme sprig
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups full-bodied red wine
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- Coarse salt
- Freshly ground white pepper
- 4 skinless salmon fillets (7 ounces each)
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a wide, deep saute pan set over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, cracked black pepper, and thyme, and saute for 4 minutes. Add the vinegar and wine, raise the heat to high, bring to a boil, and let reduce until just a few tablespoons remain, approximately 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cream. Then whisk in the butter, I piece at a time. Pour the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Discard the solids. Season the sauce with salt and white pepper, and set it aside, covered, to keep warm.
Warm the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a wide saute pan set over medium-high heat. Season the salmon on both sides with salt and white pepper. Add the salmon to the pan, skinned side up, and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Turn the fillets over, lower the heat to medium, and cook for another 4 minutes.
To serve, arrange the fillets on a warmed serving platter and drizzle some sauce over each fillet. Pass the remaining sauce alongside in a sauceboat.
Tuna, striped bass, and monkfish are good alternatives to the salmon.
Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving.