Saturday, August 3, 2013

Pan-Roasted Salmon with Plum, Sage, and Lemon Compote

Well, it's that time of year, summer's in full swing. Stone fruits are a plenty,a plethora of herbs are out, and you can combine them into all sorts of fantastically tasty combinations. It can be a little bit random if you really want, I just saw some plums and lemons at the store, and snapped them up, figuring on making something good.

I decided to completely jump on the random feeling and make something super tasty, very simple, but extremely delicious, as well as a smidge healthy. Now, I'll admit, I'm not the biggest salmon fan. Not even like the mid-way salmon, kinda likes it sometimes guy. However,when it's good quality, done just right, and the flavors are matched delightfully with the texture and nuances of salmon, then I can be bribed into eating some. That usually involves some fat, some sweetness, and a bit of acid for it to be Jake-worthy as far as salmon goes.

Pan-roasting is a simple, yet effective way to get a good sear on something, yet not over cook it, or burn it on the stove. You can pretty much do this with almost any protein, but when you really don't want to overcook something, or make sure that it hits perfect temperature. Ovens are much easier to monitor than regulating direct heat under a pan.

Seasoned and ready to sear.

I used a simple seasoning for the salmon, since you get so much flavor from the plum and sage. Plums will turn to mush if they are cooked too long, so make sure you don't keep them on the stove too long. Also keeping the freshness of the sage is important, so it is barely cooked, but still melds with the flavors of the compote.

We use skin-on salmon in this recipe as well, because we want that crispy, munchable skin, just like your favorite dining establishment has. Also, having the skin on keeps a nice fatty barrier between the pan and your fillet. A couple of tricks in the directions will show you how to make a perfectly nommable skin for your dish.

Totally compotable. (New word?)

6 skin-on salmon filets, about 4 oz each,
kosher salt and cracked black pepper
1 t. granulated onion
2 T. vegetable oil
2 T. butter
1/2 medium sized sweet onion, small diced
6 plums, small diced
2 T. white wine
1 lemon, reserving the zest, and juice
1 T. sugar
2 T. chopped fresh sage
Kosher salt


  1. In a medium sized saucepan, melt your butter for the compote, and start slowly simmering the onion until it is transparent. Get the onions to start caramelizing, then turn the heat all the way down. Deglaze with the white wine. Zest and juice your lemon. 
  2. Pat dry the skin of the salmon, removing any moisture. Sprinkle skin side with a bit of salt, wait 3 minutes, and pat dry again. The salmon skin will have released moisture from the salt. Sop that up, and then sprinkle with a very light dusting of cornstarch. Sprinkle the salmon with the seasonings, and preheat your oven to 375. 
  3. Get your vegetable oil hot in a medium sized saute pan, and start to sear your salmon, skin side down on medium-high heat. Sear until the salmon starts to turn opaque about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom. Remove from the stove, sprinkle a pinch of sage on each fillet, and place in the oven for about 8 minutes.
  4. This is just about enough time to get your compote finished. Bring up the heat to medium high, and add in your plums, sugar and lemon juice. As soon as it starts simmering, and the plums get soft around the edges, add in the zest and sage. Stir to mix, and turn off heat after 1 minute. 
  5. Taste, and salt as needed. It should have a sweet, slightly salty, and tart taste to it. Check your salmon, making sure it isn't overdone. If it has a slight give to the flesh and is flaking on the edges, you are ready to go. I like salmon about medium well, if you like it fully cooked, thats fine and dandy. The temperature should be about 135 degrees F internally. 
  6. Arrange salmon on platter or plate up individually, spooning the compote over top. Serve and enjoy!

Classy, yet messy. A combo I can deal with!