Thursday, September 2, 2010

Grilled Salmon with Basil Cream sauce and mixed colored beans

I was working late today and seafood is always so quick and easy.   So it was the quick wander through my favorite cookbooks to see what I wanted to make and I found a odd recipe using basil with salmon.  I've had parsley and cilantro with Salmon.  But, I do not recall ever seeing a Basil and Salmon recipe.  And, well, my garden Basil is quite full... with the idea that I will make pesto soon.

So, this is a fairly easy recipe - since I didn't have everything the original called for... I did end up adapting it to meet my pantry's offerings.  I made many substitutions and so can only give you what I made which turned out quite well.

If you want the original it's in From the Earth to the Table: John Ash's Wine Country Cuisine. The actual title is "Grilled Salmon with Roasted White Corn Salsa and Warm Basil Cream" but we didn't have the Corn Salsa as we don't eat grains.

Salmon with Basil Cream Sauce

  • 2 6oz pieces of Salmon 
  • 2 - 3 tablespoon ghee or butter, melted but not hot - since you are going to be using it for the marinade and you don't want to cook the fish before hand
  • dried parsley (mostly because that is all I had - but if you have fresh that would be good too)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • handful of basil leaves, chiffonade or roughly chopped (depending on how fancy you want to get)
  • 1/8 tablespoon (eyeball it) of chopped green onion (whites only) or shallots
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup white wine (dry)
  • 1/4 cup water (if you have stock even better but ours was all frozen)
  • 1/8 cup chopped Roma tomato (optional)
Put 1 tablespoon of ghee/butter, parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a bowl or zip lock bag. Mix and then add the salmon.  Leave to marinade for a bit - 20 min or so.   In the mean time, chop up your other ingredients.  Prep your grill pan or outdoor grill so that it is nice and hot.  Put the Salmon to cook - depending on thickness from 4 -8 min each side.  I usually do only do the side with the skin on it so that the other side doesn't get stuck to my grill pan and place a lid on them so that the heat cooks the Salmon all the way through.

While the Salmon is cooking. Pull out a fry pan and on medium heat put the remaining ghee/butter in the pan. Once hot, add onion and garlic and brown it lightly.  Add white white (carefully! I usually lower the heat to nothing so that I don't accidentally start up a fire. ).  Bring up the heat to medium, add water/stock and simmer until it is 1/2 of the volume. Add basil and let it wilt a bit.  Add cream and lower heat so that the cream doesn't burn.  Mix for a bit until the basil has flavored the cream - say 2 - 5 min.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.   If you decided to put the tomato in, you would do so now.  Since you don't really want the tomato cooked - but warmed with the cream sauce.

Plate the Salmon, put sauce on top and your good to go. 

Now if you want to make the beans.... it is so easy! They are just steamed and tossed in some butter/ghee with onions and garlic.


Beans in butter

  • beans - green, wax, purple - whatever looks lovely at market 
  • 3-4 tablespoons ghee or butter 
  • water to steam the beans 
  • finely chopped green onion or shallots or regular onion (if you used the white for the salmon, you can use up the tops easily enough) 
  • 1 clove garlic - finely chopped 

Steam the beans until they are cooked to desired consistency. Set aside. Heat ghee/butter in a pan and once hot add onions and garlic. Cook until lightly brown. Add the beans and give it a quick stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Done! So easy, breezy and yummy!


  1. Sounds (and looks) delicious.
    a few questions:
    1) Salmon, fresh or "packaged"? Where did you source it?

    2) The Basil - do you get hummingbirds, drinking from the tiny white flowers at the tops? or are Urban Hummingbirds less common?

    3) The Basil (again) - has your basil begun to self seed, propagating itself? This year, for the first time, mine's begun to spontaneously sprout all around the original parent plants (which were $3 Trader Joe pots).

    4) the beans - do you "cut the ends off" the beans? or just steam directly after washing without 'trimming'?

    Please lemme know when you have a moment.

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  3. 1. the Salmon was sourced from Wallace who does line caught, wild fish. I like the idea of line caught better than net, since I’ve seen net fishing and there is a lot of distruction for the quick reward. I’m sure that line fishing (if the few times I’ve lined fished is a example) is a lot more time consuming – but I’m much happier at the thought of it. Also, we choose wild over farmed because of the enviromental impacts of fish farming – especially Salmon. I know there are a few that deliver to your area – this site actually looked good for AZ - Aschbacher Acres/American Surf N' Turf and apparently they do farmers markets in AZ and sell to some retailers. You can contact them and see if it works out for you.

    2 and 3. Basil – no hummingbirds that I have seen. I wish.. that would be SO COOL. I actually haven’t seen any hummingbirds in Chicagoland. Some in southern IL – but I don’t know if the pollution is too much or something else, none so far in Chicagoland. As for the self propagating – Basil in chicago does’t do that. Unfortunately our winters are too harsh and so any seedlings die off before spring. So, I end up buying every year. But, that lets me try new varieties as well. So, I guess it’s all good.

    4. I break of the ends with my hands – this lets me hear for the snap. If you don’t hear the snap the beans are a bit old and well, I’ll make something else with them that doesn’t need the freshness of such a basic dish. Now, the washing I do randomly different. Sometimes, I wash and then break them into bite size(ish) pieces – other times after. It’s better before since you aren’t washing away at the break points. But, I figure any vit/min loss is minimal at this point. As for the steaming – it is better to bring the water to a boil and then put in your steamer section with the beans. I then turn off the stove and let them cook in the steam – based on how large the beans are and how many I have. If it is a lot, then I’ll let it simmer for a bit on flame and then let it finish off without. I find that it gets too hot for the poor beans with the flames on – and because I’m always doing multiple things at once and this lets me leave them alone until everything is cooked and finish them off without worrying that I’ve over cooked the beans to mush. :)