For me, salmon is one of the dishes you’ll have to cook spot-on to get the most out of. While perfectly moist and flavorful, overcooking salmon can easily turn this wonderful fish dry and unpleasantly flaky.
The good thing is, with sous vide cooking, you’ll have your salmon perfectly cooked each time.
Begin by preheating the water bath to 115F and set the cooking time to 25 minutes. This should get the salmon steaks to a perfectly moist “medium rare”. Although we typically don’t talk about fish in this manner, it’ll get your salmon a buttery-soft texture.
The best immersion circulators are now available online and relatively cheap compared to just a few years ago. A device that used to cost $600 is now selling for $100-$200 depending on the features you want. Some even come with Wifi! You might think you don’t have time to cook sous vide, but with a 25-30 minute cook time, it’s not that much different than pan-frying a salmon steak! Plus, with the beurre blanc to make, you’ll have something to keep you busy while the salmon cooks 🙂
Season your salmon steaks. Salmon is flavorful on its own so a good seasoning of salt should be enough. Let the salt work its way into the flesh for around 2-3 minutes.
I like rolling my salmon neatly and trussing it with some twine. Not really necessary though it makes the dish prettier in my opinion.
Get the salmon into the sous vide bag with about a tablespoon of olive oil. This should keep the fish moist while not affecting much of its flavor.
You may add in herbs or aromatics at this point. A sprig of dill or cilantro would work great.
Some slices of citrus such as oranges or lemon will also add a bright layer of freshness to your dish.
Time to get this salmon cooking.
While the salmon cooks, make the beurre blanc. Sounds too fancy? Not really. It’s simply a classic French butter-based sauce.
Making a beurre blanc starts with a flavored reduction. Here we’re working on a mix of fresh orange juice, lemon juice, shallots, and cilantro. Add some additional water to extend the simmering time, allowing the shallots to release more flavor. Allow this to reduce until you’re left with about 3 tablespoons of liquid in the pot.
Then gradually whisk in cold butter nuggets. This should emulsify the sauce. Keep the heat low and whisk continuously to keep the butter from splitting.
Add a pinch of salt and some sugar to balance out the acidity.
And that’s all there is to a beurre blanc. Come up with your own. Get some chardonnay into the reduction for a chardonnay beurre blanc, some apple juice and capers for an apple-caper beurre blanc. . .you get the point. Just keep your main ingredient in mind when working on complementing flavors into your reduction.
The bright flavors of citrus and cilantro for example work perfectly with salmon in this recipe.
Immediately submerge the salmon into an ice bath to stop the cooking process if not serving it yet.
The salmon turned out really tender and moist. I’m spoiled. I don’t think I’ll cook salmon any other way again.