Any time Saint Andrew’s night on 30 November or Burn’s night on 25 January approaches, my Scottish blood rushes. I have a sudden urge to play the bagpipes and the hunt is on to find good Scottish fare at our local French market. This time I’m going savoury for with an easy yet sophisticated Smoked Tea Beurre Blanc Salmon.
It’s an Auld Alliance marriage made in heaven; it’s where saucy France hugs Scottish salmon on a plate. Good fresh organic salmon fillets are gently pan fried and served with a rich French sauce.
However, instead of the classic beurre blanc lemon sauce, I’ve replaced it with a glossy, subtle smoky sauce that doesn’t overpower the salmon but adds that je ne sais quoi with a simple Lapsang Souchong teabag.
A version of this was originally posted in July 2011 for this herb-hugging John Dory recipe.
Since I published the recipe, I’ve altered the sauce so that there’s now less liquid with the wine and cream but more butter to make the sauce glossier, creamier and richer – rather like how I wish to be this year!
Healthy Roast Potatoes Side-dish
Serve this with lightly sautéd leeks in olive oil and healthy roast potatoes in olive oil and thyme. Simply chop up washed, unpeeled potatoes (e.g. Charlotte) into cubes and place in a non-stick roasting tin dribbled with a little olive oil, freshly chopped thyme and season with fleur de sel salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast at 210°C/190°C fan/410°F/Gas 6 for 30 minutes, turning them twice during cooking.
Normally I’d throw in a few garlic cloves still in their skins (en chemise), but for this dish it’s best to leave it out so not to overpower the salmon.
Smoked Tea Beurre Blanc Salmon
Smoked tea beurre blanc sauce with Scottish Salmon. Simple ingredients yet a sophisticated alliance of France and Scotland on a plate using a simple Lapsang Souchong teabag.
- 50 g (2oz) shallots finely chopped
- 200 ml (7fl oz) dry white wine
- 100 ml (4fl oz) cream (30% fat) crème fleurette
- 1 sachet Lapsang Souchong tea
- 150 g (5.5oz) unsalted butter chilled, diced
- pinch salt (fleur de sel) & freshly ground pepper (to taste)
- 6 fresh salmon fillets (@ 150 g each)
Gently fry the shallots in some of the butter for 5 minutes until translucent but not browned.
Add the white wine and boil for 10 minutes until reduced by over half so that it looks a bit syrupy. Lower the heat and add the cream, stirring until well combined. Take off the heat and add the Lapsang Souchong teabag. Leave to infuse, covered, for 10-15 minutes.
Remove the teabag (and shallots using a sieve if you like the sauce smooth, otherwise this step is not necessary). Return to a gentle heat and whisk in the cold diced butter gradually until the sauce is combined and glossy.
Season the sauce to taste and keep on a very low heat until ready to serve. Alternatively, set aside to cool covered until ready to serve later and reheat very gently.
Meanwhile, in a non-stick frying pan, sear the salmon fillets in a little olive oil for about 2-3 minutes on each side (depending on thickness), and keep warm in the preheated oven (190°C Fan/Gas 6) for a further 5 minutes.
The sauce freezes well: cool before transferring to a zip-lock bag or jam jar and defrost thoroughly before using.
Have you made any of the recipes from le blog, my books, or fancy playing the bagpipes or making this smoked tea beurre blanc salmon? Please leave a comment below, take a picture and hashtag it #MadAboutMacarons on Instagram or Facebook – or, even better, just tell your friends about le blog!
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