Sorrel’s sour, lemony flavour goes so well with fish but it has an annoying habit of turning khaki as soon as it touches the heat. Here it is barely cooked, and its green is boosted by flecks of aniseedy dill.
I’ve wrapped the salmon in pancetta because I just happened to have some in the fridge (as you do). It’s not essential to the recipe but it does help keep the fish moist and imparts its salty, hammy flavour, which I reckon is a bonus. You could substitute prosciutto or cook it au naturel (in which case keep the skin on).
I used a mixture of extra-thick double cream and creme fraiche in the sauce, but you can make it entirely with either normal double cream or creme fraiche. It’s a rich sauce but a little goes a long way.
Apologies for the rough and ready measurements: I was trying to cook this while watching my friend Nicola Miller win a gong in the annual Guild of Food Writers awards, this year online because of the coronavirus pandemic, and I didn’t weigh things as carefully as usual because I was too busy cheering.
Salmon with Sorrel and Dill Sauce
2 salmon fillets
6-8 thin slices of pancetta
15g sorrel, weighed after stripping out the stalks and backbones
1 heaped tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
1 small wineglass of dry vermouth
1 heaping dessertspoon of double cream
1 heaping dessertspoon of creme fraiche
Pinch of salt and a good grind of (preferably) white pepper
A few dill fronds to garnish
Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.
Wash the sorrel thoroughly, dry in a clean tea towel and then roll into a tight wad and slice it as thinly as possible into a chiffonade. Finely chop the dill.
Skin the salmon, season lightly with pepper (no salt) and wrap with the pancetta, tucking the ends underneath. Put a splash of oil into an oven-proof frying pan and when it’s hot, quickly seal the base of the salmon packages. Place in the pre-heated oven and cook for 10-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.
While the fish is cooking, put the vermouth in a saucepan and boil fast to reduce by half. Add the cream and creme fraiche and reduce again until the sauce is thick. Keep warm on the back of the stove.
Remove the fish from the oven to warmed plates. Quickly stir the sorrel and dill through the sauce, check the seasoning and pour over the fish. Serve immediately. We ate ours with new potatoes and the last of the asparagus. Early summer on a plate.
I would eat this gladly any time of year. The combination of flavors—salmon, cured pork, sorrel—sounds heavenly.
Thank you so much, Frank.