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Mar 18, 2018
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Just Five: Salmon with Pinot Noir Syrup

February 6th 05:02pm, 2013

In case you haven’t heard, salmon is very good for you. It’s high in “good fats,” protein, vitamin D and selenium. Salmon is also easy to find and reasonably priced; there’s no reason you shouldn’t be eating it a few times a week! For a while my household ate salmon pretty regularly, but then we fell into a bit of a rut where we were only preparing it with teriyaki sauce, maple syrup and some garlic. Of course, we were growing smarter and healthier, but boy, did I get sick of salmon.

Enter my secret crush, Mark Bittman. This man knows how to make everything better. This recipe comes from his cookbook The Mini Minimalist and is one of the greatest things I’ve ever made. The pinot noir syrup is based on a very basic caramel sauce. Caramel plus wine? Brilliant. Due to the slightly tart pinot noir, the syrup is sweet without becoming saccharine, and the rosemary gives it just enough of an herbal note to be interesting (It might be fun to experiment with other herbs like tarragon or a bay leaf.). This syrup would work equally well on chicken or pork, and I don’t think you’d be nuts to put it on berries with mascarpone cheese. My twelve-year-old called it “candied salmon,” and that’s not far off the mark. I dare you to resist licking your plate.

Salmon with Pinot Noir Syrup
Inspired by Mark Bittman
Serves 4

¾ cup white sugar
3 cups pinot noir
1 rosemary sprig, plus 2 Tbsp. chopped for garnish
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. olive oil
4 skinless salmon fillets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning

• Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
• Put the sugar in a heavy non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Do not stir; just shake the pan occasionally to redistribute the sugar. The sugar will begin to carmelize and turn light brown within about 10 minutes.
• Remove the pan from the heat, stand back and carefully add the wine (It will sputter and spit a bit.).
• Bring the pan to high heat and stir with a wooden spoon, until the caramel dissolves again.
• Add the rosemary sprig and allow the mixture to reduce over high heat, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened to a syrup, about 10 minutes.
• Stir in the balsamic vinegar and butter, and reduce the heat to medium-low until the butter melts. Remove the rosemary sprig from the pan, and then remove the pan from the heat.
• Heat an ovenproof, nonstick skillet over high heat, and add the oil.
• Season the salmon fillets on both sides with salt and pepper, and place them in the heated skillet so they sizzle. Immediately put the skillet into the oven for 3 minutes. Turn the fillets and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and let the fillets rest for 5 minutes.
• Place the fillets on a plate, and serve the syrup over the fish. Garnish with chopped rosemary.

By Dee Ryan

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