My health has recovered and with it my hunger and, as is often the case after a few days of enforced fasting, I want certain things. Like, and I know it’s odd, salmon with sorrel sauce. Sorrel isn’t something easily found, unless you grow it yourself, so you’ll have to bear with me on this one but it makes the most divine sauce for fish, and with the most minimal of effort. I first tasted it in France, in the Loire-Atlantique, where it is often made into sauce à l’oseille and served with white fish or salmon, and loved it. But, for some reason, until today, I have never made it myself, probably because it’s quite difficult to get hold of. However, this being the first year that I have planted and grown herbs, I took to heart the recommendation to avoid growing things that are easy to buy and cheap and went for stuff that I can never find, like sorrel. Unlike my radishes and lettuces (suffering from cat-friendliness…) it is flourishing and, with a bit of defrosted salmon, some butter and cream I turned it in minutes into something not far short of that legendary Loire supper. There is not much that will replace it, I’m afraid, though the method I’ve used, from Larousse Gastronomique, would lend itself to spinach (which cooks in exactly the same way…disappearing to nothing) or watercress. And, if you want that lemony sorrel tang, then perhaps try adding some lemon juice or zest to the spinach or watercress before adding the cream. Also I think crème fraîche is better than English cream because it’s less likely to split and has its own sourness. This is great with plain rice or new potatoes, nothing fancy because it’s the sauce that shines here.
For two you will need:
Cupboard (or things you may already have)
40g butter, plus a little extra for frying the fish
sea salt and black pepper
salmon fillet, skin-on, 100-150g per person
crème fraîche, 50g
1. Wash and de-stalk the sorrel, then cut into shreds.
2. Put a little butter into a frying pan and heat until melted and just starting to bubble.
3. Add the fish, skin-side down to the frying pan, turn the heat up slightly and leave to cook. It should take about six minutes, depending on the size and I tend to leave it on one side for four minutes before turning.
4. About two minutes before the fish is done, put the 40g of butter into a saucepan, heat gently, again until just melted, then add the sorrel. Stir quickly so that the herb is completely coated in butter then cover for about 30 seconds. Check it after that time and it should have turned olive green. If not leave it for a few seconds more. Once it has changed colour, stir in the cream and continue to heat gently so that it bubbles and thickens.Test for seasoning (I only added a smidgen of black pepper and salt).
5. Serve the fish smothered in the sauce.