So… I’ve been just waiting for the perfect time to share this recipe. But, I can wait no longer! This recipe is inspired by our recent trip to the Pacific Northwest, aka the Portland Adventure Series. Salmon and blackberries, you say? Does that really work together? Fear not my friends, the combination of flavors is perfection.
And the best possible representation of the PNW cooking. I mean, what else do you think of when you think of the Pacific Northwest? And, for the love of all things food, please do not say Twilight, or I might have to unsubscribe you.. just kidding! (We all know I’m a closet Team Jacob).
Anyway, now that it’s been established salmon and blackberry combination > teenage girl fantasy fiction, we can move on to more important things.
Such as arugula.
I decided to serve the salmon on a bed of arugula salad, which accompanied the fish beautiful. The dressing is less of a dressing and more of a fancy sauce, so you could easily serve the salmon and sauce separately without the need for greens. But if you want to be healthy-ish like I
am pretend to be, serve your’s on a bed of fresh baby arugula and tossed with a little shaved red onion and fresh blackberries for good measure.
The blackberry sauce is technically called a gastrique. A gastrique is basically a fancy french word for a sweet and sour sauce. Well.. maybe it’s slightly more gourmet than your average corn-syrup laden neon red sauce, but the concept is similar.
The idea is that you boil down some combination of alcohol, sugar, and vinegar until you create a thick syrup. It’s most often served with meat or seafood that won’t be overpowered by the flavor. Salmon or pork would be logical choices I think. Also maybe duck would work well too… mmm.. I love duck. But my point is that I wouldn’t put this sauce on a piece of whitefish or tilapia, or you will risk drowning out the mellow flavors. The gastrique for this recipe is made by boiling down red wine vinegar, red wine, blackberry puree, and sugar. You could easily substitute raspberries or blueberries in the sauce to create something equally delightful. Because of the vinegar-y tang I thought it worked very well as a salad topping without the need to create a separate vinaigrette for this dish. Although like we established earlier- do we really even want lettuce when we have salmon and blackberry in combo here?? So basically I think that this dish is my new favorite thing and this sauce is blackberry magic. I hope you also are tempted to try some of this PNW kitchen witchcraft!
Salmon with Blackberry Sauce
- 4 6 oz salmon filets
- 3 big handfuls baby arugula
- 1/4 red onion sliced thin
- 2 cups red wine vinegar
- 2 cups red wine
- 2 cups blackberries fresh or frozen, for the sauce, plus about 1 cup extra whole blackberries for garnishing salads
- ½ cup sugar
To prepare blackberry gastrique sauce
- In saucepan, combine vinegar and red wine.
- Puree blackberries in food processor or blender. Using fine mesh strainer, strain blackberry puree into saucepan as well. You may need to use a rubber spatula to assist this process. Discard seeds/pulp.
- Bring mixture to a boil. Simmer until sauce is very reduced- volume will be about 1 ½ cups. Add sugar and continue boiling until sauce is thick and syrupy.
To prepare seared salmon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Salt and pepper salmon.
- In oven-safe saute pan, heat oil on high heat. Sear salmon for about 2-3 minutes/side or until crusty. Transfer to oven for about 8-10 minutes or until cooked to your liking.
- Pile plates with arugula and red onion. Place salmon over the greens. Drizzle with generous spoonful of blackberry gastrique sauce.
- Garnish with reserved blackberries.