Seared Chinook Salmon, Lobster-Corn Chowder, Tarragon Oil

I’ve always prided myself on the fact that I rarely cook with butter and/or cream. When I started in this business, it was cream sauce this, butter sauce that, and while there are a myriad of things that you can do with each in regards to making sauces, none were ever exciting to me. They were rich, fatty and lacked the brightness that was much more appealing to my palate.

At my first job as a professional cook, the sauté station consisted of several proteins, several flavorings and gallons upon gallons of cream and butter, each one made a la minute. Within an hour of service, my palate was exhausted and useless by the insane amounts of cream sauce, finished with butter. I was unable to taste the difference between a tarragon-mustard cream and a shit sandwich.

That being said, there are still places I will use a butter or cream sauce, although I prefer to keep them lighter. For example, I do a mustard cream sauce as an option for the steaks at my restaurant. The sauce is, in actuality, a bordelaise finished with Dijon and just enough cream to lighten it a shade.

You’ll be more likely to find purees, reductions, juices, oil infusions and broths on my menu. To that end, I have an array of equipment to help facilitate, buerre mixers, conventional blenders, food processors and masticating juicers, all designed to extract flavor in one form or another. In addition to brighter flavors, purees and juices add color and help to punctuate a presentation.

This recipe uses Chinook Salmon but you can use any other fish you would prefer. For the remainder of the dish, I make my version of a seafood chowder, chock full of ingredients that are enough to make up starch and vegetable swimming in a cream and butter base. While I don’t do a lot with cream or butter, I do go big when I do!

2 ea. 6 oz salmon filets
1 fl. oz olive oil
2 oz pancetta/bacon, diced
2 oz. yellow onion, diced
½ oz garlic, minced
3 oz. potato, diced
4 oz. corn, cut from the cob
1 cup white wine
¾ cup heavy cream
2 oz lobster meat
3 oz. butter, room temperature
1 Tbs. tarragon, minced
Kosher Salt


1. In a small sauce pot, heat the olive oil or medium heat.
2. Add the pancetta/bacon and cook till it begins to crisp.
3. Add the onion and garlic and sweat for one minute.
4. Add the white wine and potatoes.
5. Reduce the wine by half.
6. Add the cream and the corn.
7. Reduce the liquid by half.
8. Remove from heat and add the lobster and tarragon.
9. Stir in the butter until fully incorporated.
10. Season with salt.

Sear or grill the salmon to your preferred doneness. Place the chowder in bowl or plate. Top with the salmon and garnish with lobster claw and tarragon oil.


8 Responses

  1. Alessio says:

    Very interesting dish Chris! Love the corn in the chowder, interesting way to add another sweet note to the dish with needed contrasting texture.
    As for the tarragon oil, I’m just falling in love with it lately… Made savory scones with tarragon and coconut, yummy herb!
    As for the sauces, yeah too much fat is like having cling-film in your mouth :S I think though that some starch in the sauce can help cutting the film.

  2. @Marius I appreciate the comment, although the only way to see if I am right or not is to try the recipe. Regarding the request for the camera settings from, regardless of film or digital processing, direction of light and camera angles and settings are universal, don’t you agree?

    @Prerna Thanks for the comment, I’ll post settings this weekend once I get back in front of my computer.

  3. Marius Zota says:

    @Prerna that photo is post processed… the information you asked for is only relevant in connection to good “darkroom” knowledges and experience… :)

    @Chresiopher: I can hardly associate salmon&lobster with corn… I see it like a downgrading combo… my VERY honest opinion… My first remark here on your blog. Watching you for like 5-6 months, but now I feel like I interfered.. :) Cheers and keep up with (only) the good work! :)

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