Molly Wizenberg's Cider-Glazed Salmon
I started this post over a year ago. Right around the time I stopped blogging altogether. It features a recipe from one of my favorite food bloggers, Molly Wizenberg of Orangette.
Orangette was one of the first food blogs I discovered. It's still a favorite. Molly had been blogging for a few years by the time I discovered her. I spent the first few weeks catching up. Her writing felt familiar, as if she was someone I knew well. I wished, and still do, that I could write like her. Like many of her readers, I was swept away by the love story that unfolds on her blog. The short version? A fellow food lover from New York found her while searching for a lemon cake recipe online. He's now her husband and they run a restaurant in Seattle. Dig through her archives to find out more. It's a foodie love story fit for a movie.
Last year, Molly published A Homemade Life, her first book. It's a collection of touching stories and food, of course, sneaks its way naturally into every one. I was sad when I finished, but because each story ends with a recipe, I get to revisit it often. I think I dog-eared almost every one.
I missed Molly while she was in New York promoting the book last year, but finally met her a few weeks ago while she was here for the paperback release. We spoke for just a few seconds, but I was surprised, and honored, that she recognized me from my own blog. It was so nice to see her in person, hear her speak and see that she's just as I imagined. Warm and friendly, soft-spoken yet witty and sarcastic. Very articulate.
At first, Molly's life sounds perfect. But the more you read about her, the more real she becomes. She's been through a lot and is clearly wise beyond her years. A true old soul. I'd already been planning to start writing again, but hearing her talk about the book and how she became a food writer made me even more motivated.
I've made dozens of Molly's recipes over the years and they always seem to turn out perfectly. This cider-glazed salmon was no exception. It might be one of my most favorite yet, along with this granola, this salad, and this butternut squash puree that I wrote about back in 2006.
But, back to the salmon. It's poached in fresh apple cider and reduced with cream till you're left with a sweet, delicious caramel-colored sauce that you'll want to slurp straight from the pan. It'd be a great dinner party dish or the perfect meal for two.
Now that Molly's book is in paperback, I thought it'd be a good time to finally publish this post. I might have made her salmon recipe over a year ago, but I still remember it perfectly. Give it a try and pick up A Homemade Life as soon as you have a chance. You won't be disappointed.
For this recipe, you'll need a large 12-inch skillet with a lid. The pan should be large enough to hold the salmon without crowding and to provide plenty of surface area for boiling down and thickening the sauce.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium shallot, peeled and halved lengthwise
2 cups fresh unfiltered apple cider
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
1/2 cup heavy cream
In a large, heavy skillet, combine the butter, shallot, and cider. Place over medium-high heat, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove and discard the shallot.
Place the fillets gently in the pan, adjusting the heat so that the liquid just trembles. Spoon a bit of the liquid over them, so that their tops begin to cook. Cover and simmer very gently. The fillets will cook for 8 to 10 minutes per inch of thickness. To test for doneness, make a small slit with a paring knife in the thickest part of the fillet: all but the very center of each piece should be opaque. (It will keep cooking after you pull it from the heat). Transfer the cooked salmon to a platter, and cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm.
To prepare the glaze, raise the heat under the pan to medium-high, add a pinch of salt, and simmer, stirring frequently, until the liquid is reduced by about two-thirds. It should be slightly thickened and should just cover the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium, and add the cream. Stir well to combine. Return the heat to medium-high and boil, stirring frequently, for a few minutes, until the mixture darkens to a pale golden caramel--like those Brach's Milk Maid caramel candies, if that helps--and is reduced by one-third to one-half.
Place the salmon fillets on 4 plates and top each with a spoonful of sauce. It should coat them like a thin, loose glaze. Serve immediately.
Note: If you'd like to make this for only 2 people, halve the amount of salmon, but not the sauce quantities.