Getting Saucy

Further on the topic of making salmon even tastier, the other night we just about hit a wall with trying to dress up wild salmon (yes it’s out of season; yes I thawed some frozen fillets), when my wife suggested a balsamic reduction. Brilliant I thought: the kids will love the caramel- agro-dolce/sweet-sour wonders of a cup or so of cheap-o balsamic vinegar simmered to a spoon-coating richness. If only it were ever so easy. Pouring in the last cup or so of the bottle, I misjudged and sloshed half the vinegar on to the stove, thus cutting the vinegar to a measly quarter cup. I went ahead and reduced it, tasted it. It wasn’t sweet enough. I threw in a tablespoon of sugar, dissolved that. Just right. But there was barely enough to sauce two servings. I had an evil, French-cheffy thought: whisk in a bunch of butter. Which I did, with the help of Violet, who I gave a long-handled whisk and cautioned on the perils of hot pans (at 5 and a half she’s got the skills to help out a bit more in the kitchen). With the pan off the heat, we whisked in maybe 4 tablespoons (boiling the sauce at this point would cause the sauce to break). The addition of butter did many things: it increased the volume of the sauce, gave it an amazing silkiness, made Violet feel like she was part of the dinner-prep action, and led both my children to eat their salmon and lick their plates clean. I’m telling myself the good and bad fats balanced each other out.
—Hugh

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2 Responses to Getting Saucy

  1. Brandon says:

    Butter, sadly, is always the silver bullet in kid culinaria. My sister was famous in our family for once getting caught eating a stick of butter, and my children, I think, probably just haven’t thought of it yet.

  2. malika says:

    I have to weigh in on the side of butter… I don’t think there’s anything wrong with eating butter. Kids’ brains and bodies need fat, and I think it sends the wrong message to obsess about fats. Everything in moderation… Look at Julia Child – she believed in butter, and she had a long, healthy, happy life.
    Butter is not sad, nor should you feel guilty for eating it. Stop calling it a bad fat!
    The real problem in the American diet is processed food. I’d much rather feed my daughter homemade cookies made with real sugar and real butter than packaged cookies (even organic ones) made with corn syrup and vegetable shortening, not to mention all the unpronounceable additions.
    Maybe it’s time for that wonderful experiment in butter making. Get some heavy cream (not ultra-pasteurized), put it in a glass jar with a good lid and shake shake shake. Butter! Buttermilk! Spread on a cracker, sprinkle with salt, eat.

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