Salmon Fillets Braised in Pinot Noir with Bacon and Mushrooms
While there are several steps involved in making this dish, it’s well worth the time. It’s just the kind of cooking I love when I’ve got time to hang out in the kitchen and enjoy the process. Open a bottle of Vignette Pinot Noir when you serve this dish. It’s all the best of the Pacific Northwest, come together in one meal.
- 4 thick skin-on fillets, about 6 ounces each and 1 ½ inches thick
- ¼ pound mushrooms – cremini or a mix of specialty mushrooms
- 5 slices thick-cut bacon about 4 ounces, cut into ½-inch-wide strips
- 1 leek finely chopped and thoroughly washed
- 1 carrot finely chopped
- 1 small shallot finely chopped
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups light red wine such as Pinot noir
- Three 2 to 3-inch leafy fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel. Trim off the very base of the mushroom stems, then remove and coarsely chop the stems. Set aside. Thinly slice the caps and keep separate.
Choose a deep ovenproof skillet just large enough to hold the salmon fillets without crowding. Add half the bacon and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the bacon has rendered much of its fat and is just beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Pour in half the wine and the thyme. Bring to a rapid simmer and cook until the wine has reduced by about half, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining wine and return to a simmer for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the bacon and mushroom garnish. Place the remaining bacon in another skillet over medium heat and fry until crisp. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. Pour off most of the fat from the pan, and add 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the sliced mushroom caps and sauté over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper and stir frequently, until all the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms are tender and nicely browned. Transfer the mushrooms to another bowl. No need to clean this skillet yet, you can use it later to finish the sauce.
Season the salmon well with salt and pepper. When the braising liquid is ready, reduce to a gentle simmer and arrange the fillets skin side down in the simmering liquid. Cover tightly and slide the pan onto a rack in the middle of the oven. Braise the salmon for 15 to 18 minutes, checking once about halfway through to make sure that the liquid is simmering gently and to baste the fillets with the wine. If the liquid is simmering vigorously, lower the heat in the oven a bit. Check for doneness by discreetly cutting into the thickest part of a fillet to see that it is opaque on the outside but still translucent toward the center. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the fillets to a warmed serving platter. Cover loosely with foil.
Strain the braising liquid into the reserved skillet. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. After a minute or two, lower the heat to medium and whisk in the remaining butter. Stir in the parsley and taste for salt and pepper. Add the reserved crisped bacon and sautéed mushrooms to the sauce and heat through.
Spoon the sauce over the top of the salmon fillets and serve immediately