Friday, September 18, 2009

Salmon with Peach in a Balsamic Reduction

Every year I patiently wait for the perfect peach. Even though they show up in the stores in early summer, they tend to be hard as baseballs with no telltale peach aroma. Sometimes I fondle their fuzzy exterior, but these tasteless imitations are just a tease. So, I put them down reluctantly to wait for the real thing. Today I am happy to report: My peaches have arrived! My love affair with my favorite fruit can recommence, but we only have a few weeks together before it will go away again for another long year.

This is a super quick and easy recipe that I made especially for my salmon-loving daughter who is home visiting from college this weekend. The combination of the sweet, ripe peach and the balsamic vinegar is delightful and fresh tasting. Even though the days have cooled and we're wearing our long sleeves again, this dish sings to us the last tune of summer and helps us recollect fond memories of warm, lazy days gone by.

Salmon with Peach in a Balsamic Reduction
(Makes 2 servings)

2 center-cut salmon fillets (5 oz. each, no skin)
½ tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil (for high temp cooking, not olive oil)
salt & pepper
1 ripe peach, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks (reserve 4 thin slices for garnish)
¼ cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons agave nectar (or 1 tablespoon honey)

1. Heat a heavy skillet over medium to high heat (I use a cast-iron skillet). Season salmon fillets with salt & pepper and rub the oil on each side. When skillet is very hot, place the oiled salmon in the pan and do not disturb for at least 2 minutes until a brown crust has formed. Turn salmon and sear other side for at least two minutes. Turn again and complete cooking to desired doneness. (If you like your salmon on the rare side, the 2 minutes per side should be fine. I like mine cooked through to flakey and no longer pink in center, which takes another 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook, or fish will be dry.) Remove to serving plate and set aside.

2. Add chopped peach to hot pan and stir fry for about 1-2 minutes. Add stock, vinegar and agave nectar and stir to deglaze any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until sauce is reduced by half and slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Divide fruit and sauce evenly over salmon. Garnish with reserved peach slices and serve.

Nutritional Information per serving: 357 calories, 25.8 g carbohydrate, 6.8 g total fat, 2.75 g saturated fat, 1.1 g fiber, 35.15 g protein

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

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