One of the hardest things for me to give up during my Whole30s was dairy…specifically cream. Not like I put heavy cream in everything, but sometimes it’s nice to have a piece of meat or some vegetables with a light cream sauce and a little Parmesan sprinkled in. I mean really, there is nothing better than a well-made Béchamel or Mornay sauce. It adds a certain depth to a dish that otherwise wouldn’t be there. I was a little bummed about not being able to have cream sauce until I came across this recipe and doctored it up! (Because really…if you know me you know that I rarely follow recipes to the letter. In fact, I pretty much never measure spices and I rarely measure liquids–I just eyeball everything and then add more according to my palate.
I think this would taste just as good with most other types of fish. I wouldn’t necessarily try it with a strong-flavored fish or something like catfish; however, it should taste just as good with any flaky white fish and probably even over shrimp or scallops. Note: if you make this with shrimp or scallops, make sure you mostly cook them first and then finish them with a quick saute in the sauce. Skip the baking part entirely. You could also do this with chicken breasts or pork chops–just adjust the baking accordingly so that the sauce is only in the oven for 15-20 minutes. So if it takes, say 45 minutes to bake your chicken breasts, bake them for 20 minutes, take them out and cover with the sauce, then continue baking for the last 20 minutes.
Without further ado, here is the recipe!
Salmon with Coconut Cream Sauce
1 pound salmon fillet
Salt and pepper
2 tsp. coconut oil
1 large shallot, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced thick or quartered
Zest and juice of one lemon (secret tip: zest the lemon and set zest aside, then microwave the lemon for 30-40 seconds–you’ll get more juice that way–this works for all citrus fruit)
1/2 cup canned, full-fat coconut milk
1.–Preheat oven to 350. Spray or rub baking dish with a light coating of olive oil. Salt and pepper both sides of salmon and place in baking dish.
2.–Heat a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add coconut oil and heat until melted. Add mushrooms, onions, and garlic–saute 3-5 minutes until soft.
3.–Add lemon zest, juice, and coconut milk. Bring liquid to a low boil for 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat and add basil.
4.–Pour over salmon and bake, uncovered, 10-20 minutes.
At this particular meal, I served the salmon with homemade cranberry sauce. You wouldn’t think those flavors go together, but surprisingly, they went really well!
2 Tbsp. basil, chopped (or 1-2 tsp. dried basil)