The glorious richness of this melt-in-your-mouth smoked, then butter-basted and grilled salmon is enhanced by the creamy-acidic notes of a classic beurre blanc. Test kitchen tip: Take the pressure off and make the beurre blanc ahead, and then store it warm in an insulated container until ready to serve.
Smoked and Grilled Salmon with Beurre Blanc
For the smoked and grilled salmon
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 5-1/4 oz. kosher salt
- 2-1/2 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
- 2 Tbs. minced scallions
- 3-3/4 lb. skin-on, center-cut sushi grade salmon fillet
- 1 cup melted clarified butter
- 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. hondashi pellets or granules
- 2-1/4 cups dry apple wood chips (about 5 oz.)
- Canola or other neutral oil, for the grill
For the beurre blanc
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 3 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 3 large sprigs fresh tarragon, plus 3 tbs. coarsely chopped for garnish
- 8 oz. (16 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. sherry vinegar
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
Make the salmon
- Combine the sugar, salt, ginger, and scallions in a small bowl. Put the salmon on a large rimmed baking sheet, skin side down. Using all the sugar-salt mixture, generously coat the entire surface of the salmon flesh. It’s OK if the coating is thick. Cover lightly with plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.
- Rinse the sugar-salt mixture off the salmon with cool water. Pat the salmon dry on both sides with paper towels. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, warm the butter, lemon juice, and Hondashi, stirring often, until the pellets dissolve and the mixture begins to simmer. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
- Wrap the apple wood chips securely in heavy-duty foil (alternatively, use a double layer of standard foil) flattened and shaped to the size of an envelope. Pierce the foil all over with a knife. Put the apple wood envelope directly on top of the heat plates or charcoal of a grill. Replace the grate, and then lightly oil it. Close the cover, and heat the grill to low, between 250°F and 300°F. When the chips start to smoke, transfer the salmon to the grill skin side down. Baste the salmon flesh generously with the butter-lemon mixture, taking care to avoid flare-ups. Close the grill cover and continue to baste every 7 minutes for a total of 30 to 35 minutes, or until your desired doneness. Carefully remove the salmon from the grill, tent with foil, and set aside.
Make the beurre blanc
- In a medium saucepan, cook the oil, shallots, and garlic over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until beginning to soften but not brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Raise the heat to medium, add the wine, and bring to a boil. Reduce until the wine is almost completely evaporated, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low, add the tarragon sprigs, and begin to add the butter one piece at a time, whisking continuously until the butter melts before adding the next piece. Continue with the remaining pieces of butter, occasionally moving the pan off the heat to keep the sauce from getting too hot. The butter must not melt too fast, but should soften gradually to form a creamy sauce. Remove the pan from the heat, and then whisk in the lemon juice, vinegar, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Pour the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer. Keep warm until ready to serve.
- Divide the beurre blanc and portioned salmon among shallow bowls, garnish with the chopped tarragon, and serve immediately.