Herb Coulis Adds Color And Gourmet Flavor To Broiled Salmon Steaks


December 19, 1990|By Charlyne Varkonyi

Broiled fish is one of the easiest and most healthful ways to get dinner on the table in a hurry during the hectic work week. But soon broiled fish gets more yawns than cheers. It's virtuous, but boring.

The next time the broiled fish urge hits, try it with this adaptation of an herb coulis that was inspired by a recipe from Michel Blanchet, the chef de cuisine at L'Ermitage restaurant in Los Angeles. Mr. Blanchet, who demonstrated several recipes to food editors and writers on a cruise to the Caribbean a couple of years ago, was a purist in his version. He used fresh stewed tomatoes, carefully prepared fish or chicken stock, garlic, salt and pepper as well as fresh basil and fresh tarragon. Great taste. Too much prep time. This working person's version takes advantage of help from canned tomatoes and fish bouillon cubes, eliminates the hard-to-find fresh tarragon and adds green onions and more garlic. It goes well with any fish and also makes a great sauce for vegetables.

Serve the salmon steaks and herb coulis with boiled small potatoes flavored with butter and parsley and steamed asparagus with vinaigrette. Start by putting the potatoes in a pot, cover with water and bring to boil with the lid on. After boiling turn down heat to medium and continue to cook until the rest of the food is ready. Next you will want to make the sauce. While the sauce is cooking, broil the salmon and cook the asparagus.

Your pantry should include: olive oil, butter or margarine, green onions, garlic, fish bouillon, salt and pepper, bottled vinaigrette dressing.

Your 10-item or less shopping list should include:

*4 salmon steaks

*1 can Italian plum tomatoes (14 1/2 ounces)

*1 bunch fresh basil leaves

*6 small boiled potatoes

*1 bunch fresh parsley

*1 pound asparagus

Salmon steaks with herb coulis

Makes 4 servings.

XTC 3 tablespoons sweet butter or margarine

3 green onions, white part only, sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 can Italian plum tomatoes (14 1/2 ounces), including juice

1 cup fresh basil leaves

1 cup water

1 fish bouillon cube

salt and pepper, to taste

fresh basil leaves, for garnish

4 salmon steaks

olive oil

Melt butter or margarine in a frying pan. Add onions and garlic and saute until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil leaves, water and bouillon cube. Bring to boil. Turn down to low and cook for 15 to 18 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Puree mixture in a blender or a food processor and reserve.

While the coulis is cooking, prepare the salmon. Adjust rack about 4 inches from heating element. Brush each side of the salmon with oil and broil until flaky, about 5 to 6 minutes per side. Do not overcook. Put sauce on the bottom of plate, put salmon on top and garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Steamed asparagus with vinaigrette

Makes 4 servings.

1 pound fresh asparagus

4 tablespoons vinaigrette dressing

Wash asparagus, peel and remove hard ends. Place in an oven-proof casserole with 1/4 cup water. Cover casserole, allowing steam to vent, and cook in microwave on high for 5 minutes. Divide into 4 four portions and top each serving with 1 tablespoon of vinaigrette dressing.

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