Salmon with Saffron-Habanero-Lime Butter Sauce
Butter sauces have a reputation as difficult to make, easy to spoil, and prone to separation (breaking) but this basic recipe avoids all of those pitfalls by never actually mixing heat and butter until actual serving time. This bright orange butter sauce gives the plate both rich color and a complex blend of tastes that combine with trout quite well.
Also, the no-heat finish to the sauce makes this recipe portable enough to take camping to use on just-caught fish, for a lavish presentation with little to-do in the field.
If you can make a Beurre Blanc sauce this recipe will be very easy and follows close to the same procedure during the first part making the reduction; and the second part is far easier and safer than a Beurre Blanc's, unless you try the advanced method at the bottom.
2/3 cup dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc)
2 tbsp minced shallots
2 deseeded/minced habanero peppers (2 tbsp)
1.5 tbsp heavy cream
2 pinches Spanish Saffron threads
1 1/2 sticks butter (3/8 of a pound) at room temperature
Dash of salt
Juice from one lime
3 pounds wild Alaskan Salmon fillets, deboned and skinless.
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and coarse ground pepper
Making the sauce:
First part: Make the reduction
Saffron is the most expensive seasoning in the world, but don't slight the amount you use and use saffron threads not powder. 2 pinches means 2 good solid pinches, yet each pinch is only contained by your thumb and forefinger. Soak Saffron threads in just enough water to cover them no more - in a little shot glass. Set aside.
Never neglect to wear disposable gloves when touching the habaneros with your bare hands; if you make this mistake once you won't make it twice. Mince them very very fine.
Bring wine, shallots and habaneros to a rolling boil in a small sauce pan and reduce, to become only 2 - 3 tbsp of liquid. Strain and press solids in fine wire strainer, saving the liquid, discarding the solids. Let your liquid reduction cool most all the way to room temperature.
In a mixing bowl whisk the heavy cream into your reduction quite completely to stabilize the liquid into into a texture that will bond with butter. Pour in the shot glass of saffron, stirring continuously; watch it turn into a beautiful orange. Lastly, whisk in the butter completely then add Ύ of your lime juice and a dash of salt. Taste and whisk in more lime juice until the lime taste matches the saffron taste in volume (while the habanero and butter tastes are also right there too).
I make a 6x batch and my next step is to pour it into little tupperwares; freeze some and keep a couple in the fridge so I always have it on hand; let it thaw to room temperature (from the fridge) naturally (vs. applying heat) and you'll have no loss on what you don't use.
Rinse, dry, then dust the salmon with salt and pepper and pan fry at medium heat in 3 tbsp olive oil 3 to 5 minutes per-side, per-inch of thickness and just until a fork inserted and twisted flakes the meat instead of squishes. Don't overcook it!
Slightly heat the butter sauce while stirring constantly just enough to be a liquid. Divide the salmon fillets into 4 servings & cover each serving with the Saffron-Habanero-Lime Butter. Top it with capers and serve.
More advanced method: If you're serving the butter sauce immediately and are talented enough to make a Beurre Blanc without breaking it, try this method instead, starting just after making the reduction:
Gently heat your reduction on low while vigorously whisking in the heavy cream. Pour in the shot glass of saffron, stirring continuously; watch it turn into a beautiful orange.
Add the butter a few tablespoons of butter at a time, whisking vigorously while off the heat half the time. Whisk it more than you melt it. Add dash of salt. When its all of the same consistency with no butter chunks, heat it just a touch until you see it become more golden colored, but too much heat and you'll break the sauce so be careful. Never stop whisking. Quickly and without heat stir in most of the lime juice, taste, keep adding until the lime balances the saffron.
This more advanced method involves more time, skill and danger to breaking the sauce, and keeps not so well but it has a deeper color and flavor both.
This recipe was published for the very first time on Thanksgiving Day 2009 here: http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...14&postcount=1 by its original author who requests that you do not copy/paste it elsewhere. Feel free to link to it or to make personal use of this recipe.