Poached Salmon over Savory Garlic and Butter Orzo

With Brandied Cherry and Fig Vinegar Sauce

Serves 4


4, 4 ounce Alaskan Salmon Filets
1/3 C sweet onion chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 T unsalted butter
2 T oil
2 C good chicken stock (reserving ½ C only if needed)
3 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 C white wine, (Unoaked Chardonnay best)
2 T onion soup/dip mix
¾ C chopped flat leaf parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 C brandied cherries (or other not too sweet bottled cherry preserves)
2 T fig vinegar


  • Using one large saucepan begin by heating 2 T of oil to medium high. Add the onion and saute until they begin to barely brown a bit. Add some salt and pepper and 2 T butter and then the 1 C of orzo pasta. Saute until bits of the orzo begin to brown and caramelize. Add the two T of the onion soup mix, turn to medium high and mix in until moist, bringing all ingredients to a good blend. Deglaze the pan with the wine and let bubble off for a minute. Then add the lemon juice and stir well. Finally, add 1 C of the stock and turn to low so it is simmering consistently. Stir and blend a bit, letting it bubble, then stir, almost like you would if you were making a rissotto. Then add the garlic about halfway through the process, and continue to stir. When half the liquid is absorbed, add the other ½ cup of stock and stir, and then add half the parsley and combine. While still on low but bubbling slightly, nest the salmon filets in, and top each with a dot of butter, using the remaining 2 T of butter to do so. Gently ladle a bit of the liquid atop each filet. Then cover with the lid askew and let braise in the liquid just until you see it becoming opaque but not cooked through which only takes about 3 minutes. The mixture should be thick and moist but not dry. If needed, add a bit more stock a tablespoon at a time.
  • Mix the brandied cherries and fig vinegar together and heat through either in a small pan or the microwave. Don’t boil, just get piping hot.
  • To plate, put a mound of the orzo mixture in the middle of the plate. Top with a salmon filet. Drizzle a couple of spoonfuls of the brandied cherry sauce on top. Sprinkle with more parsley to finish. Serve.

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