Salmon with Sorrel Beurre Blanc and Toasted Hazelnuts

I love salmon when it's cooked properly (I cook it just to medium--it still has a little bit of dark pink flesh and is still moist)... I think many people are afraid of fish because they have not had it prepared in a way that preserves the fish's delicate flavor. It's unfortunate, because seafood is so wonderful and versatile. This sauce could also be served with shellfish like shrimp or crab. Mashed potatoes are a perfect partner for this dish; when serving, spoon them into the center of the plate, then top with salmon and sauce as below.

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup skinned hazelnuts
1 shallot, sliced
1 serrano pepper, sliced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, skin and pin bones removed
1/4 pound sorrel (about 4 cups), washed, dried, and finely shredded
Salt and pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat until melted. Add the hazelnuts and toast quickly until lightly browned. Remove from the heat and set aside. In a heavy saucepan, combine the shallot, serrano, garlic, and wine. Heat over medium heat until the wine has evaporated. Whisking constantly, add the butter a few pieces at a time, letting each addition melt completely before adding more. When all the butter has been incorporated, whisk over the heat for 1 minute. Stir in the sorrel, remove from the heat, and keep warm. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil until hot. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and add to the pan, rounded side down. Cook about 3 minutes, until golden, turn, and cook 4 minutes more on the other side. (I cook salmon to medium--it will still have a little of its dark pink color.) Remove the pan from the heat.

For a fancy presentation, warm 4 plates. Place one salmon fillet in the center of each plate. Spoon butter sauce over each fillet, drawing the spoon diagonally across the salmon to make kind of a thick stripe of sauce. Sprinkle each fillet with hazelnuts.

Makes 4 servings.

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