Pan-fried Salmon with Pink Grapefruit Hollandaise

I know hollandaise sauce has a reputation for being tricky to make, but if you take your time when you add the butter and don’t let it get too hot, you can produce an amazing, restaurant-quality sauce in your own kitchen. The tart grapefruit cuts through the buttery richness of the sauce and gives it a very slight pink blush that looks stunning with the salmon and pink peppercorns.


Serves 4

4 x 200g salmon fillets, skin on and pin-boned

1 tbsp mild olive oil

450g asparagus, trimmed

100ml water

25g butter

1 tsp pink peppercorns

Pink grapefruit wedges, to serve (optional)

For the pink grapefruit hollandaise

50ml dry white wine

80ml white wine vinegar

1 small shallot, peeled and finely chopped

2 tarragon sprigs, roughly chopped

200g butter

2 egg yolks

1 tbsp pink grapefruit juice

1 tsp pink grapefruit zest

1 tbsp finely sliced chives

Sea salt and finely ground black pepper


1Start by making the hollandaise sauce: put the wine, vinegar, shallot and tarragon into a small saucepan and heat until reduced to about 2 tablespoons of liquid. Strain, discarding the solids, and set aside until needed.

2Melt the 200g butter over a gentle heat and carefully pour the golden liquid into a jug, discarding the milky solids at the bottom of the pan.

3Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Add the egg yolks, grapefruit juice and zest plus half of the reduced vinegar. Whisk until frothy and thick, then slowly add the melted butter, whisking constantly. Stir through the chives, then season with salt and pepper and add a little warm water if it’s too thick. Add the remaining vinegar reduction if you prefer a bit more tang. Put to one side.

4Score the skin on the salmon fillets, then brush with the olive oil and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Place a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium–high heat and, when hot, add the salmon, skin side down. Reduce the heat to medium–low and cook for about 5 minutes, until the skin is quite crisp. Flip over and cook the other side for 2–3 minutes, until slightly springy to the touch. Remove and allow the fish to rest for a few minutes.

5Meanwhile, put the asparagus into a large sauté pan with the water, butter and a little salt and pepper. Place over a high heat and cook for 5 minutes, or until tender.

6Put a salmon fillet on each serving plate and place some asparagus alongside. Spoon the hollandaise over the salmon and sprinkle with a few pink peppercorns. If you wish, serve with a wedge of pink grapefruit on the side.

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