If I do say so myself, this recipe is damn good. It was so good, in fact, that the second it was ready, we inhaled the entire thing, putting our forks down only onto empty (nearly licked) dishes, and then realized we’d forgotten to take pictures (hence the lovely stock photo you see). But trust me, the delicately pink poached salmon looks beautiful atop white rice dotted with Parmesan and bright red cherry tomatoes.
It’s light, but has tons of flavor; it’s buttery, but doesn’t feel fatty; and it’s not that difficult to make. There are two main parts to think about: the rice, which can be all but left alone, and the salmon poaching which takes a bit more hand holding. I took my poaching cues from the one and only Eric Ripert, making them my own with white wine instead of vermouth and leaving out other steps and ingredients. But still, why not learn from the best?
Just be prepared that whomever you make this for will request it the next night, and the next night…
Start the rice first, since it takes the longest to cook. In a large pot, combine the water and rice, sprinkling with salt and pepper over medium-high heat. Stir just to combine the ingredients and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and let it simmer, covered, for about 15-17 minutes. Meanwhile, start making the salmon until the rice has finished cooking.
When the rice is done, turn the heat on the lowest notch, and add the Parmesan and butter. Stir well and cover. A few moments later, add the halved tomatoes and cover again. Leave covered until you’re ready to serve.
In a small pan, heat up the olive oil and add the shallots over medium heat. Cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Then add the wine and let boil until reduced by just more than half (should look like 3-4 tablespoons). Turn the heat down and slowly add the butter, one cube at a time, stirring well with each. Once melted together, turn off the heat and set aside. When the rice is almost finished, put the butter and wine sauce back over low heat and let reheat slowly.
Meanwhile, season the salmon fillet with salt and pepper on the non-skin side. Into a large, wide skillet, pour the water, and bring to a boil. In a small bowl, stir ¼ cold water with the flour, letting it dissolve with no clumps. Add salt and pepper.
Add the flour mixture to boiling water, then add the wine and lemon juice, continuing to boil until the liquid is thick and murky. Turn the heat down so it’s just simmering and add the salmon fillet. Poach until the top of the salmon is cooked through and a pastel pink color — about 5 minutes. While cooking, make sure to take a large spoon to scoop the poaching liquid all over the salmon to help it cook through and look consistent.
When the salmon is nearly done, go back to the rice and sauce, to reheat and finish before plating.
Finally, put it all together — rice on the bottom, salmon next, and spoon a tablespoon or so of the butter and wine sauce onto the salmon and the rice.