Crème fraîche and lemon juice are the perfect counterpoints for the rich, buttery texture of the braised salmon. The reduced pan juices from the salmon have a delicious tangy flavor similar to that of béarnaise sauce.
Heat the oven to 350°F. Cut a piece of parchment to fit inside a large ovenproof skillet, sauté pan, or flameproof baking dish. Lightly butter one side of the parchment. Combine the lemon juice, tarragon, and crème fraîche in a small bowl and set aside. Melt 2 Tbs. of the butter in the pan or baking dish over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and vermouth and reduce to a glaze; remove from the heat. Season the fillets with salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer in the pan. Pour the crème fraîche mixture over the salmon, cover with the parchment, butter side down, and bake until the salmon is just opaque throughout, 18 to 20 minutes; don’t overcook.
Transfer the salmon to a plate and keep warm. Put the pan over medium heat and reduce the sauce until it’s thick enough to lightly coat a spoon. Remove from the heat, whisk in the remaining 2 Tbs. butter, and taste for salt and pepper. Put each salmon fillet on a warm dinner plate and spoon the sauce over each. Garnish with the dill or chives.
Serve the salmon with spring peas or asparagus.
Try a crisp French Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc with little or no oak, such as the Chablis from Rolland Lavantureux or the Domaine Chavet Menetou-Salon, a little-known Loire Sauvignon Blanc.
nutrition information (per serving):
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Photo: Scott Phillips