Salmon with Peach Barbecue Sauce and Fennel Salad
Paired with 2022 Descendants Liégeois Dupont Le Rosé
Recipe by Chef Aislinn McManigal-Quintana
Peach Barbecue Sauce (makes 1 ½ cups)
6 T butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ medium onion, diced
¼ c brown sugar
½ t tomato paste
1 c peach puree*
½ c apple cider vinegar
½ c water
1 bay leaf
8 black peppercorns
½ t fennel seed, toasted
½ t ancho chile flake
*If you don’t have peach puree available you can substitute peach jam or preserves. Reduce the amount of brown sugar by half for this substitution.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan or pot. Add the garlic and onion and sweat on low until translucent (5 minutes). Stir in tomato paste and brown sugar. Raise heat to medium and allow the mixture to reduce for about 10 minutes. Add peach puree, apple cider vinegar, water, and all of the spices. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to a simmer and reduce until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon (it should reduce by about a quarter). Remove from the heat, remove the bay leaf, and transfer to a blender. Puree the sauce until completely smooth. Refrigerate if you made it ahead or pour it back into a clean pan for plating.
Salmon and Fennel Salad
10 oz salmon
3 T canola or vegetable oil
2 T butter
Salt & pepper
½ head fennel (plus fronds for garnish)
¼ sweet onion
¼ green apple
2 T verjus (substitute lemon juice)
2 T olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Cut salmon into two equal portions. Heat a cast iron pan or other oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. Once hot add enough canola oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat up to high. Salt both sides of your salmon filets. Once the oil is hot (you should be able to see waves when you move the pan, just before smoking), carefully lay your pieces of salmon in the pan skin side down. You should hear a loud sizzle and the salmon should seize. Use a fish spatula to flatten the salmon so the skin is flush with the pan. Use tongs to gently lift it up to ensure it is not sticking. Let the salmon cook on high for 1-2 minutes before turning the heat down to medium. Allow to cook until the skin is browned and crispy, around 5 minutes. Add the butter to the pan. Using a spoon, baste the salmon with the melted butter 3 to 4 times. Put the pan in the oven to finish cooking. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 140° F. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare your salad. Using a mandolin (a vegetable peeler or some good knife skills will work if you don’t have one), shave the fennel and onion into a mixing bowl. Shave the apple the same size onto a cutting board. Use a knife to slice the apple into thin batons. Add the apple to the bowl and dress with verjus and olive. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To plate: Warm your barbecue sauce over low heat. Spoon a generous portion onto your plates. Place the salmon skin side up on top of each. Portion a handful of the salad to the side. Garnish with the fennel fronds. Pour yourself a cold glass of Le Rosé and enjoy!