When I was in Paris a few years back I was on the hunt for this dish. The food everywhere was amazing and my companion and I ate in some pretty haute places either on purpose or by accident. In fact, as an aside, the escargot photo on my home page was taken at Le Comptoir. It was across the street from our hotel. We stumbled in our first night with no reservation and had an amazing (early) meal. Once I got home, I looked it up and learned it had recently been listed by Conde Nast Traveler as a top 10 Paris restaurant.
Back to the salmon... I looked for salmon with dill cream sauce on every menu in Paris. Finally, on one of the last nights of our trip, we made an impetuous decision to walk to a restaurant several blocks away. We'd had a very long day, it was late, and we weren't really that hungry, but I'm not one to nap through mealtime in Paris, so onward we went. The restaurant was across the street from the Luxembourg Gardens, so we sat outside. In true Paris style, our server ignored us for some time before bringing menus and taking our drink order. A while later we had our wine and I had victoriously ordered salmon with dill cream sauce. Great hunger and anticipation immediately gripped me. Our server, her mood much improved, delivered our meals and as soon as she stepped away, a torrentially windy downpour ensued. I held my wine glass with one hand and hastily shoveled salmon, dill sauce and fettuccine into my mouth with the other. It was still delicious and we were still sitting across from the Luxembourg Gardens, but it was cold and windy and we were exhausted. We also had exactly one dinky $5 Target umbrella between the two of us. It was a long, cold and wet walk/run back to the hotel.
Back to present day. I have wanted to make this dish on my own for some time, but with the added challenge of making the cream sauce dairy-free, or at least lactose issue-friendly. I used Greek yogurt, as I often do, in place of heavy cream. Also, in lieu of pasta, I thinly sliced potatoes and roasted them until they were crispy.
Here's what you'll need:
3 medium red potatoes
1-2 TBSP French country vinaigrette seasoning (from Penzey's Spices)
2 6-7 oz salmon filets with skin
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 7 oz container of plain Greek yogurt
1 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 TBSP capers
2 TBSP super finely chopped fresh dill
Freshly ground black pepper
Potatoes: Do these first so they have time to really get crispy and wonderful. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush a baking sheet with olive oil. Slice potatoes as thinly as you can, so you can see through them. If you have a mandolin this would be a good time to use it. Pat the potato slices dry and place in a single layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle with more olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and vinaigrette seasoning. Place in oven and bake. Check after 10 minutes. At that point they will be crispy and golden on one side and will need to be turned. Use a spatula and be gentle. Bake for a few minutes more and then simply turn off your oven to keep them warm until serving.
Sauce: In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the vegetable stock. Add the yogurt and whisk until smooth. Reduce heat to low. Stir in lemon juice, capers, dill, salt and pepper and continue heating until the sauce is warmed through. Remove from heat and cover until ready to serve. Pay very close attention and keep your heat LOW. If the sauce comes to a boil it will cause the milk fat to separate and you will have runny, not creamy, cream sauce.
Salmon: Get a cast iron skillet or stovetop griddle very hot. Rub the fleshy side of the salmon with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place flesh side down on the skillet or griddle. Check after one minute. You're searing for a golden brown, crispy crust, so don't move it until you have one. Once this is accomplished, flip the salmon and continue cooking skin side down. Cover if possible.
Plate the salmon and potatoes and drizzle both with the dill cream sauce.
I enjoyed this in my warm dry house with a 2013 Monastrell.