California Wild Salmon by Charlie Abowd – Fine Dining

Wild salmon is not found, except at fine-dining establishments and places where there are discerning chefs or fish markets that specialize in wild salmon.  The reasons for the complexity of flavors in wild salmon are obvious. They are swimming freely in their own indigenous waters, eating their own natural food, which is high in omega 3s and yields an interesting, full-bodied flavor that has endured, shown by the popularity of this fish.

California Wild Salmon by Charlie Abowd

Course: Main Course   Cuisine: Nouvelle Cuisine   Prep Time:    Cook Time: 10 minutes   Servings: 4 to 6




1 Shallot about the size of a silver dollar, super-finely chopped

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 stick (four ounces) unsalted butter; while butter is firm, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and lightly coat cubes with flour, then soften to room temperature.

1 tablespoon tarragon leaves, roughly chopped



4 to 6, six-ounce salmon fillets

Olive oil


Maldon’s sea salt flakes

Ground pepper



Once butter is soft, place shallot and vinegar in a small, heavy saucepan, cooking over medium heat until liquid is reduced to about one tablespoon. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter one cube at a time. Wait for each cube to melt before adding the next. This process will coat the pan. Keep at super low heat and warm until service.

If you choose to make the sauce in advance, place it in a double boiler under low heat. At this time, or five minutes prior to serving, add tarragon leaves. If added too soon, the tarragon will release oils into the sauce, which will cause the sauce to break down. Again, heat control of this sauce is extremely important so as not to cause it to separate.



Lightly season each fillet with Maldon’s, available at DuBois Health Food Center & Herb Shoppe or Raley’s, and fresh-ground pepper.

Place in firey-hot skillet (for six fillets, use two skillets) coated with olive oil. Sear both sides — top and bottom with bottom being the skin side — about two minutes per side.

Squeeze the juice of two fresh lemons on the top (in case of two skillets, one lemon per skillet), place lemon in pan and cover immediately, placing in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.

Pull pans out of oven and using a spatula, plate each fillet, and spoon sauce carefully over each fillet. Garnish with fresh, whole tarragon leaves, then close your eyes, free your mind, take a breath and find yourself transported to the Loire Valley in France.



I am sharing one of the iconic recipes of our time by one of the arguably greatest icons of our time, Paul Bocuse, whose influence has touched all of the finest chefs.  His influence started the Nouvelle Cuisine trend still evolving to this day. The Bocuse Restaurant, near Lyon, France, stands as one of the finest in the world today. The list of chefs who have worked under Paul during their careers is unmatched.

My wine recommendation for this is a Pouilly Fume, from the Loire Valley in France, a Fume Blanc or a California Sauvignon. I have found some great wines from the Loire Valley at Aloha Liquor and Ben’s Discount Liquor and encourage you to explore your options.