Salmon and Mussels with a Mixed Mushroom Sauce

This sauce is fantastic!  All the earthy flavor of mushrooms and rich as well!  I chose to put it over salmon and mussels since I was in the mood for both and it was a great pairing.  It also goes well over chicken, so if you had extra sauce like I did, I saved it, warmed it up, grilled chicken and poured it over the chicken – see Grilled Chicken with a Mixed Mushroom Sauce.  What a great way to have another meal not to mention super easy since the sauce was already done!  The purpose of using dried mushrooms is to thicken the sauce and incorporate the rich bold flavor of the reserved liquid, which I like to call liquid gold.  Even though this is a meal by itself you can choose to make Crostini to scoop up the wonderful sauce!  See Chatty Advice below for instructions on selecting mussels, proper storage and when to discard them. Serves 2 with leftover sauce or will serve 4 by making 4 filets and double the ingredient amounts for mussels.

Ingredients

Salmon
2 -4 oz. salmon filets
Foil or Non-stick cooking spray
Sauce
1/2 oz. container/bag of dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup of boiling water
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cups of mixed mushrooms cleaned and sliced (I used shitake and button mushrooms)
1 shallot peeled and minced
3/4 cup of red wine
1 cup of beef broth
1/2 cup of cream
2 tablespoons of butter
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
Mussels
1/3 lb. of mussels cleaned  
1 tablespoon of butter
2 large cloves of garlic or 3 smaller ones crushed through a garlic press
1/4 cup of white wine
Crostini (optional)
1 baguette sliced on a diagonal
Non-stick cooking spray

Technique

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and add dried mushrooms.  Reconstitute for about 20-30 minutes.  While mushrooms are reconstituting prep the rest of the sauce ingredients.  After the mushrooms have reconstituted strain mushrooms from liquid but save liquid.  Wash mushrooms to remove any grit.  Using a paper towel strain liquid to remove grit and reserve liquid.  In a blender add reserved liquid and mushrooms and blend until smooth.  Set aside.   In a large skillet over medium high heat add olive oil and mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms begin to release their liquid.  Add more oil if pan seems way too dry.  Add shallots and sauté for about a minute.  Add wine to deglaze the pan and reduce wine by half.  Add broth and reduce by half.  Whisk in blended mushroom mixture (you may need to add a little bit beef broth or red wine to get the mixture out), cream and butter.  Add salt and pepper and taste.  Adjust seasoning if needed.  Turn heat off and cover to keep warm and cook salmon or if you can multi task as I did broil the salmon while making the sauce.

To cook the salmon you can choose to broil like I did because it was easy to pop into the oven while I made the sauce and was done by the time sauce was, grill or pan fry.  If you are grilling or pan frying it will take extra effort on your part.  If broiling place salmon on a baking sheet coated with Pam or line with foil.  Broil on top rack on high.  Depending on your oven it should take about 10 minutes.  I like my salmon medium to done so I take it out at the medium stage and cover because of the carry over cooking time.  This should result in a very moist salmon.  To see if it is medium I gently open the middle with a spatula.  The center not top should look a bit tad bit raw still.  If choosing to grill preheat a grill or grill pan to medium high heat, add salmon and cover.  If using a grill pan use one of your pot lids to cover.  Grill for about 10 minutes and us the same technique mentioned above to check for doneness.  Remove from grill or grill pan, cover and set aside.  If choosing to pan fry, add olive oil to a skillet and cook over medium high heat covered for about 10 minutes.  Again use the same technique above to check for doneness.      

 In a large to medium sized pot add butter and melt over medium high heat.  Add garlic and sauté until fragrant about a minute.  Add mussels and white wine, stir and cover.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until mussels have opened.  If any mussels did not open, discard them.  While mussels are cooking, stir sauce and check the sauce to see if it is still warm and if not turn heat on and warm.  Once mussels are done plate by adding sauce to a plate top with salmon add mussels and add more sauce.  Serve extra sauce on the side.

If wanting to make crostini, slice bread on a diagonal and spray with non-stick cooking spray, place in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 8 – 10 minutes or until toasted.

 Suggested Beverage

Try a red that has on the medium side of robust.  Try Parducci Family Farmed Pinot Noir (California),  Bogle Vineyards Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley), Masi Modello Delle Venezie (Italy), Cantina Zaccagnini il vino “dal tralcetto” Montepuliciano d’Abruzzo Dry Red Wine (Italy).  Beer lovers try Flensburger Brauerei Gold Premium Lager Beer (Germany), Samuel Adams® Boston Lager® (Boston, MA) or Baltika Premium Lager (St. Petersburg, Russia).

 Chatty Advice

Mussel must be kept alive until they are cooked.  So do not suffocate them in a plastic bag or drown them by soaking them in water.  As soon as coming home from the grocery store, empty the bag of mussels into your sink.  Thoroughly but quickly rinse all of them.  Place into a strainer filled with ice, place the mussels on top of the ice and place the strainer in a large deep container that the ice can melt into.  Do not cover.  Refrigerate until ready to cook them.  When rinsing the mussels, any with cracked shells should be discarded.  If you find any that will not close when handled or given a light tap, discard them as well, because they are dead.  They will open to breath but once touched, tapped or are moved around they should close.  If in doubt smell them.  They will probably have a bad odor if they are dead.  When mussels are cooked they should open.  If some mussels did not open after cooking them, discard them.  However, if half did not open they may not have been cooked long enough.  Some mussels will only partially open, if in doubt, discard them.

 

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