I served this decadent dish at my little brother Daniel's 30th birthday party. Being a cream sauce fanatic, I always prepare a lot of sauce. Since some guests prefer less sauce, I dress the entree with a modest amount and then serve extra sauce on the side.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 shallots, peeled. minced
1 cup dry Champagne
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
3 sprigs fresh thyme, plus 4 for garnish
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
4 (6 oz.) salmon fillets, about 3/4 inches thick
Note: Makes 4 servings
Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over high heat. Add shallot and cook 1 minute. Add Champagne and cook until liquid reduces to 1/4, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in cream. Add 3 thyme sprigs and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and discard thyme sprigs. Stir in salt and pepper and cover skillet to keep warm while cooking salmon.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add salmon, skin side down, to skillet and cook for 3-5 minutes until bottom is lightly browned. Flip fish and cook for about 5 minutes on other side until fish is just opaque in center.
Place salmon on individual dinner plates and spoon Champagne sauce over top. Garnish each with a thyme sprig and serve warm. Pour sauce into a gravy boat or spouted vessel and serve on the side.
Recipe adapted from Sophisticated Entertaining by Jeanne Benedict.