I was taught how to make this sauce years ago by a chef, but I don’t know whether the quantities are the same now as then. I remember that you’re supposed to strain the shallots out of the butter after cooking so that only the flavour remains, but I like the texture of the shallots so I’ve always left them in. It’s a fantastically rich, velvety sauce and goes beautifully with a robust flavour like salmon. Tarragon or even fennel would probably go very well in this too, instead of dill.
I served this with wild alaskan salmon fillets and a pile of roasted broccoli: chop the broccoli into smallish florets, toss in olive oil and roast in a medium to hot oven for about 20 minutes. You’ll need to put the broccoli in before you start the sauce. It probably makes sense to cook your salmon in the oven too, in a foil parcel, but I like the crispy skin and pretty lines of griddling them, so that’s what I did here.
- 2 large / 3 or 4 small escallion shallots
- 130g butter
- 100ml decent white wine
- 4 tbsp double cream
- bunch of fresh dill
- freshly ground peppercorns
Chop your shallots very finely. Melt 30g of the butter in a heavy-based pan and very gently fry the shallots until golden. Stir frequently and don’t let them take on too much colour.
When the shallots are thoroughly soft (5 – 10 mins), add the white wine, finely chopped dill and pepper. If you used salted butter you won’t need to add any salt. If you used unsalted, maybe add a pinch of sea salt now. Bring to a simmer and just let it barely bubble until the wine has reduced by about half its volume. If you are going to griddle or pan fry your salmon, I’d put it on when you add the wine.
Add the remainder of the butter and let it melt very gently, stirring from time to time. When it’s completely melted and incorporated into the sauce, add the double cream and stir in thoroughly. Bring it back to a simmer but don’t let it boil, and serve as soon as possible with the rest of the bottle of white. 😉