I have prepared and served this sauce with salmon many times over the years and often hear the same response when offering seconds, "The heck with the salmon, can I have a cup of that sauce!"
A Delicious Sauce for Salmon or Other Seafood Dishes
This sauce is really that good and how could it not be? Butter, heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, fresh dill, lemon juice and seafood stock. What's not to like?
About the Cream
For years, I made this sauce with half and half which is half whole milk and half cream with a butterfat content of about 12%.
I used half and half to cut down on calories but have recently learned because of the low butterfat content, there is a chance the sauce might curdle and/or break as compared to using single cream (butterfat content around 20%) or whipping cream (buttermilk content around 30%) or heavy cream (with a butterfat content around 36%)
Saying that, I don't ever remember any of my sauces ever breaking when using half and half and nobody complained about flavor. Can you imagine if this seafood sauce for salmon is that good using half and half, how much better it will be with heavy cream?
I haven't tried creme fraiche for making this sauce but will give it a try soon and report back. I have used creme fraiche for preparing other sauces many times with amazing results.
Creme fraiche is a little bit like sour cream but has a higher fat content (30% to 20%), a much richer flavor and doesn't taste as sour. It is made in the United States by adding a bacterial culture as compared to France where it is made with unpasteurized cream that already has bacteria in it to thicken the cream.
I have also been experimenting with sour cream when preparing sauces but only when I can add it to the sauce after the cooking process. Because there is more protein in sour cream than heavy cream or creme fraiche, there is a tendency for it to break or curdle when making sauces with it.
But sour cream is another great ingredient to experiment with when making sauces at home.
This recipe calls for a specific brand of seafood stock that is produced by More Than Gourmet and is called Glace de Fruits de Mer Gold. This product is a seafood stock reduced to a glace and is "a premium blend of the finest "fruits of the sea," lobster, shrimp, crab and fish."
I think of it as a quality lobster stock.
Like substituting creme fraiche for the heavy cream, I'm sure you could substitute homemade or commercial seafood stock or lobster stock to make a version of this sauce that is just as good but my personal experiences have been using the Glace de Fruits de Mer Gold.
I will be purchasing some of the other commercial lobster stock brands to try with this sauce and report back.
If you do try using lobster stock, you'll have to reduce it by at least half before combining with the heavy cream to get the right consistency. The trick is to find the right combination of cream versus stock.
I will be honest with you. I make a lot of chicken stock in my house. Sometimes, but not very often, I'll make beef stock. But when it comes to fish stock or seafood stock, I prefer to buy a commercial grade product.
Is making seafood stock difficult?
No, but it does stink up the house and I find no reason to stink up the house when you can substitute a good commercial product.
Will it be as good as making it homemade?
No! Making it yourself using the freshest ingredients is always the best way to get the best flavor but you still end up with a stinky house and who needs that?
Seafood Stock vs Fish Stock
Is there a difference? I think so. I think of fish stock as being made from just fish bones and pieces of fish whereas seafood stock is made from both fish and shellfish like shrimp, lobster and crab. The seafood stock should be in my opinion much more robust and flavorful.
Of course, if you are allergic to shellfish, you should make this sauce with a simple fish stock and stay away from the shellfish.
Commercial Seafood Stocks Available
If you want to make your own lobster stock or fish stock, by all means go for it especially if you've just served lobster or lobster tails and have the leftover shells to make it with. If you don't want to make it at home, here are some commercial brands you may want to try.
For this sauce, I'm using the MTG's Glass de Fruits de Mer that is made from a combination of shellfish and fish stock. If you want to try it with lobster stock, seafood stock or even fish stock, please let me know about your results.
Seafood Sauce for Salmon Recipe
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1½ ounces More Than Gourmet Seafood Stock Glace de Fruits de Mer
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- In a saucepan on medium high heat, add the butter and melt.
- Add the heavy cream and Glace de Fruits de Mer Gold and whisk until blended.
- Simmer the sauce, whisking until slightly reduced (by about ¼).
- Add the dill, lemon juice and Parmesan cheese. Whisk until thoroughly blended.
- Remove from heat and serve.