Lidia Bastianich is one of the best chefs in America. She is always in service to the food, not her own ego, yet there is a self-contained sureness in her as she teaches on television and in her books. While I bow to her exquisite knowledge of Italy’s regions, and her extraordinary technique, her ability to translate recipes for those of us who are home cooks, is wise and rare. You do not pick up one of her cookbooks and think, “I can’t possibly do this”. In fact, you can’t wait to get at it, and the dish never disappoints. That’s what happened with salmon fillets with prosecco sauce. It was hard to choose a recipe from her book, but in the end I had to go with what I consider the temptress in Lidia’s stable, gorgeous yet simple salmon fillets with prosecco sauce that you and your guests are not likely to forget. Seriously, they don’t get easier than this, and with such a wondrous payoff.
1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra–virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup chopped cornichons
2 cups Prosecco
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
Season the salmon with ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Heat a large nonstick skillet over -medium–high heat. Add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the salmon, and sear it on both sides, about 2 minutes per side, but don’t worry about cooking the fish all the way through at this point. Remove the salmon to a plate, pour out the oil, and wipe the skillet clean.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat, and add 4 tablespoons of the butter. When the butter is melted, add the scallions and cornichons, and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.
Add the Prosecco, and bring to a boil. Boil until reduced by about half, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining teaspoon salt, and slide the salmon back into the sauce. Simmer until salmon is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Whisk the remaining butter and the parsley into the sauce and serve salmon fillets with prosecco sauce.