Pan-fried Salmon with Sorrel Sauce

This classic dish is so simple to make. Fresh sorrel is a must – although it is not widely used, it is very easy to grow and it is best picked when it is needed, as it does not keep well once picked.


  • l x 675 g/ lb fillet of salmon
  • 115 g/4 oz fresh sorrel leaves
  • 450 ml/¾ pint fish stock
  • 120 ml/4 fl oz dry white wine
  • 450 ml/¾ pint double cream
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 85 g/3 oz unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • juice of ½ lemon


Remove the line of small bones that runs down the middle of the fillet using a pair of pliers. Skin the fillet and cut it into four long, thin slices, weighing about 175 g/6 oz each.

Remove the stalks and central vein from the sorrel and wash well. Tear the leaves into fairly small pieces – it is important to tear the leaves and not cut them, as cutting causes an almost total loss of flavour.

Put the fish stock and white wine together in a saucepan and reduce until the liquid is syrupy. Add the double cream and reduce further until it just starts to thicken.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, adding 25 g/1 oz of the butter once it is hot. Season the fillets of salmon and gently fry in the fat, top side down first, for about 45 seconds, then turn and cook for a further minute. Do not allow the fat to become too hot as the salmon should only be slightly browned. The flesh should also remain slightly pink to retain its moisture and to stop it from becoming tough. When the fish is cooked, remove from the pan and keep warm.

Add the sorrel to the sauce and return to the boil. Remove from the heat and, with a swirling motion of the pan or stirring with a wooden spatula, add the remaining butter in small pieces. Season the sauce with the lemon juice and a little freshly ground pepper and salt.

To Serve

Divide the sauce out between the plates, drain the fillets of salmon to remove any excess fat and place the fish in the middle of each plate. Serve immediately.