Seared Salmon Filet

Placing the fish on top of the rice, surrounded by the veggies and topped with the sauce, allows for a more complete experience for the diner


I created this salmon dish for our senior capstone restaurant, OnFire, last summer when I was a student in Flathead Valley Community College’s culinary program. I had been reading Chef Alfred Portale’s “Gotham Bar and Grill Cookbook” and was really excited about his dimensional plating ideas. Placing the fish on top of the rice, surrounded by the veggies and topped with the sauce, allows for a more complete experience for the diner. In one bite you get the salmon, the rice, the veggies and the sauce that has been slowly drizzling off the fish into the rice and onto the veggies. The experience continues to evolve as you eat, as the different components continue to intermix.

The Rice

• 1 C. jasmine rice

• 1 Tbsp. onion, finely diced

• Canola oil or clarified butter

• 1 bay leaf

• 2 C. water or chicken stock

• Salt to taste

In a medium pot, sweat the diced onion in canola oil or clarified butter until translucent. Add bay leaf. Add rice and coat with the oil. Add water or chicken stock. Bring to a boil, drop to a low simmer and cover for approximately 15-18 minutes, or until done. Remove bay leaf, fluff with a fork, season with salt to taste, and reserve.

The Veggies

• 5 oz. zucchini, rustic chop

• 2 oz. red bell pepper, rustic chop

• 2 oz. yellow bell pepper (may sub with yellow squash)

• Canola oil or clarified butter

• Salt and pepper to taste

In a sauté pan, heat the oil or butter over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and bell peppers. Sauté until you achieve a nice color on the vegetables. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove veggies from the pan and reserve.

The Salmon

• 4 6-oz. salmon filets, skin removed

• Clarified butter

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the clarified butter in a sauté pan over med-high heat. Place the filet in the pan filet side down (skin side up) and achieve a nice dark-golden color on the filet side of the fish. Remove the filets from the pan and place seared side up on a sizzle platter. Place in the 350-degree oven for approximately five minutes, or until done.

The Sauce

• 2 shallots, finely diced

• 1 C. dry white wine

• 1/4 C. white wine vinegar

• 1/4 tsp. cayenne

• 2 Tbsp. heavy cream

• 8 oz. cold cubed butter

• Salt to taste

• Lemon juice to taste

In the same sauté pan in which you sautéed the fish, over medium-high heat, add shallots, white wine, white wine vinegar and cayenne. Allow this to reduce to almost a syrup.

Strain the reduction through a fine mesh strainer into another sauté pan.

Over low heat, slowly swirl in the cold cubed butter until emulsified. The sauce should coat the back of a spoon without being too sticky.

Season to taste with salt and lemon juice. If your heat is too high, the sauce will break.


Place a ring cutter of appropriate size in the center of the plate. Fill the ring with the rice and make the top smooth, packing it into the ring. Remove the ring, leaving a nice looking formed rice disc.

Spread the veggies around the rice disc.

Place the salmon on top of the rice at a slight angle.

Spoon the sauce over the fish, allowing it to drizzle onto the rice and veggies. The sauce should be translucent, allowing you to see the beautiful searing of the salmon.

Garnish with a sprig of dill and enjoy.

Louis Bertino is an instructional assistant at the Culinary Institute of Montana at Flathead Valley Community College. For more information about the program, visit www.culinaryinstituteofmt.com.