Pan Seared Salmon

“Salmon is common in restaurants now, but I love it,” says Quang Tran, chef/co-owner of Mes Rêves in Bloomfield. “When I was growing up, salmon didn’t seem to be as readily available as it is today.”

"The main component that I feel pull this dish together is the shiitake leeks,” Tran continues. “The inspiration for the shiitake leeks is a dish I had at Le Cirque 2000 in New York. I believe it was potato-crusted sea bass over leeks. The dish was divine. It was hard to take notes while dining in that setting. Luckily, I recently came across the scratchy notes from that evening! Enjoy."

Ingredients: (4 servings)

  • 4  8 oz Salmon Filets
  • 1 lb Roasting Potatoes (4 or 5)
  • 2 cup Shiitake Mushroom (1/4 inch sliced)
  • 1 cup Leeks ( ¼  inch diced)
  • 1 cup Onion ( ¼  inch diced)
  • 1 lb Fresh Asparagus
  • ¼ cup Thyme (fresh, coarsely chopped)
  • ¼ cup Rosemary (fresh, finely chopped)
  • ¼ cup Sage (fresh, finely chopped)
  • ¼ cup Parsley (fresh, finely chopped)
  • ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ½ cup Saffron White Wine Reduction (see below)
  • ¼ cup Heavy cream
  • 1 tsp Garlic (finely minced)
  • 1 tbs Shallots (finely minced)
  • 4 oz Butter
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)



  1. Chop the herbs and combine them. Set aside about ¼ cup of the mixed herbs for the potatoes. Then add the ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil to the herbs. This will be used to brush onto the seared salmon filets and the grilled or sautéed asparagus.
  2. Quarter the potatoes lengthwise, then cut into bite-size pieces. Put the cut potatoes in a bowl and toss with the chopped herbs that were set aside. Drizzle with olive oil (or any cooking oil) until all pieces are coated. Place in a sheet pan and roast in the oven at 350 degrees until they just turn golden brown (about 30 min.) Make sure they are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Over medium heat, sauté the sliced shiitakes; separately sweat the leeks and the onion with butter and a little oil. They should all be cooked through but with no caramelization. Combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Brush the asparagus spears with the herb oil. Grill or sauté. Cook the spears to your desired doneness (I like a crunch in mine). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. In a nonstick pan, sear the salmon filets with butter over medium heat. Sear each side 5 to 7 minutes (or to your desired doneness). Brush the filets with the herb oil after you flip the sides to finish cooking. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. In a small saucepan over medium heat, sweat the minced shallots and garlic with a little oil. Add the cream. Bring to a simmer and reduce by half. Whisk in the saffron white wine reduction. Bring to a boil, then reduce again by half or until the sauce thickens. Stir occasionally. Season with salt to taste.
  7. Place the roasted potatoes on one side of the plate. The asparagus spears go on top of the potatoes. The shiitake leeks are used as a bed for the seared filets on the other side. Spoon the saffron cream sauce over the filets and serve.


Saffron White Wine Reduction:


  • 4 cup Chicken Stock (fish stock if available)
  • 1 cup White Wine (Chardonnay or your preference)
  • ½ cup  Onion (chopped)
  • 1 tb Garlic (chopped)
  • 1 oz Butter
  • 1 tsp Whole Black Peppercorn
  • 1 sprig Thyme
  • Saffron (about 10-15 strands)



  1. Sweat the onion and garlic in butter, careful not to brown.
  2. Add white wine. Simmer and reduce by half.
  3. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  4. Add saffron, thyme, and black peppercorns.
  5. Reduce the stock by 1/3 at a simmer. Add more saffron if you don’t smell the saffron fragrance after 10 minutes.
  6. Strain, cool, and set aside.



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