A refreshingly piquant sauce peps up roasted salmon fillets

Entertaining

Entertaining: Even discriminating diners should find a fresh twist or two in this main dish.'

January 06, 2002|By Betty Rosbottom | Betty Rosbottom,Special to the Sun

My husband is not an avid fan of salmon. On too many occasions, he has sampled overcooked or badly seasoned versions of this ubiquitous fish. As a result, I feel particularly challenged to find imaginative ways to serve it at our house and am pleased that my most recent creation, Roasted Salmon With "Greens" Mustard Sauce, won enthusiastic approval from my discriminating spouse.

For this dish, salmon fillets are marinated in equal parts of white wine, orange juice and soy sauce, then they are roasted quickly in a very hot oven. The wine adds a subtle note of acidity, always a good partner to fish, while the orange juice provides sweetness and the soy sauce a salty flavor.

But it is the uncooked accompanying sauce that makes this main course memorable. I tasted a similar sauce in Woodbury, Conn., at the Good News Cafe, owned by my friend Carole Peck, a talented chef. Grainy Dijon mustard, garlic, chopped fresh spinach and arugula leaves are blended with sour cream and half-and-half in a food processor or blender to create a verdant sauce. Piquant, with a peppery taste, the sauce looks striking against the coral flesh of the roasted salmon and complements the taste of the fish beautifully.

Because this entree received accolades from my family and because it is uncomplicated and fast to prepare, I have decided to use it soon for a dinner party. Both the marinade for the fish and the "greens" mustard sauce require just minutes to assemble, and the roasting time for the fish is only about a quarter-hour. Mounds of creamy mashed potatoes and tender young green beans, or haricots verts, will be my choices for side dishes. Wine-poached pears will end the meal.

Incidentally, the mustard sauce makes a fine garnish for crispy roast chicken as well.

Distributed by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate International, a division of Tribune Media Services.

Roasted Salmon With 'Greens' Mustard Sauce Makes 4 servings

four 6- to 7-ounce salmon fillets

1/3 cup dry white wine

1/3 cup orange juice

1/3 cup soy sauce

salt

"Greens" Mustard Sauce (recipe follows)

Remove any bones from fillets with clean tweezers. Place fillets, flesh side down, in shallow, nonreactive pan.

In small bowl, whisk together wine, orange juice and soy sauce and pour over salmon. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours, turning several times.

When ready to cook, transfer salmon, flesh side up, to foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Roast in oven at 450 degrees on center rack until flesh is opaque and flakes easily when pierced with knife, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Salt fillets. Garnish each serving with dollop of "Greens" Mustard Sauce and pass any extra sauce in small bowl.

Note: The salmon and sauce recipes can be doubled easily.

Greens' Mustard Sauce

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

2 / 3 cup coarsely chopped cleaned spinach

2 / 3 cup coarsely chopped cleaned arugula leaves

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard with seeds

1 / 4 cup sour cream

1 / 4 cup half-and-half

2 medium garlic cloves

In bowl of food processor or blender, place spinach, arugula, mustard, sour cream, half-and-half and garlic. Process 30 seconds or longer until greens and garlic are finely chopped and blended into other ingredients.

If not using immediately, place in nonreactive bowl. Cover and refrigerate. (Mustard sauce can be made a day ahead. Bring to room temperature 30 minutes before using.)

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