Wine Pairing Recipe: Salmon With Wine Sauce

4 tbsp. butter
2 green onions, chopped fine
2 cups dry white wine* (see note)
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp. parsley, chopped fine
2 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. white pepper
Long filet of salmon with skin, about 2 lbs.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and sautee onions for 10 minutes until transparent. Stir into a glass baking dish with the wine, herbs, and pepper, then put in the fish, skin side down. Bake 45 minutes, basting often with wine mixture until fish is firm throughout (fish should be fully cooked, but not overcooked). Keep the fish warm, but strain the sauce into a measuring cup. While baking, make the sauce.
4 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. flour
3 egg yolks at room temperature
1/2 cup whipping cream at room temperature
3 tsp. fresh dill, chopped fine, or 1 tsp. dried dill
On top of a double boiler, melt butter and set 2 tbsp. aside. Whisk the flour into the remaining butter to make a white roux, slowly adding the wine liquid, whisking as it cooks on low. Reduce the sauce for about 15 minutes. Slowly add egg yolks, whisking until the sauce thickens. Add the melted butter, whipping cream and dill. Season to taste with salt. Remove the fish skin, platter the fish, cover with sauce and garnish with fresh dill or parsley. Good platter accompaniments are steamed asparagus and homestyle potatoes. Serves 6. Pair this salmon recipe with the 2004 Bocce Pinot Gris.
You can use any wine you wish to use in your cooking because some of the world's best recipes have come from experimentation. But, wine is used as an ingredient to add flavors and aromas. If you use bad wine with bitterness or an off-taste, those unpleasant flavors will be cooked into your food. So, use the best wine your budget can afford! The best bet is to use the wine that will accompany your meal, since you have selected it to pair well with the flavors of the other ingredients.

One can use just any wine for a recipe, just as one could use any cheese to make a grilled cheese sandwich. But, the results will be just as varied. Following the cheese metaphor: your sandwich will be quite different if you use Raclete, farmer's cheese or Brie. The Raclete will be melty and mellow, the farmer's cheese won't melt well and may take on a crumbly texture, the Brie probably will melt out of the sandwich and onto the griddle. Also, the quality makes a great deal of difference: a quality cheddar will make a superior grilled cheese sandwich, poor quality cheddar will be rubbery, leaving a pool of orange oil on your plate.
Just as the varietal of cheese makes a difference above, so the varietal of white wine you choose for this week's wine pairing recipe will effect the outcome. Salmon is a fatty fish (nutritious, since fish oil is high in Omega-3) so it needs acidity for balance. That's why common marinades for salmon use acidic citrus bases such as lemon or orange juice. An acidic wine, such as a Pinot Gris gives this recipe a nice balance. Avoid heavily oaked, "oily" wines such as some Chardonnays.
If you're on a tight budget, or want to save every drop of your wine for drinking, here's a tip: use 2 cups white grape juice (or ginger ale!) with 2 tsp. white vinegar for baking the fish. There will be less flavor than the wine, so you might want to add a couple springs of rosemary in the cooking liquid (remove after cooking) to round out the flavor.

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