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Thyme Encrusted King Salmon

The following recipe was created by a friend of mine after taking a bike ride along a trail shrouded by blackberry bushes in the midst of summer.


      2 cups Blackberries
      cup sugar
      cup red wine vinegar
      tablespoon butter
      cup minced shallot
      cup dry red wine
      Salt and pepper
      4 salmon fillets (8 oz. Each) skinned
      3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, plus a few sprigs
      tsp. ground cloves
      1 tablespoons salad oil


    In a food processor or blender, puree 1 cup of the berries, and pour through a fine  strainer. Discard seeds.

    To prepare the gastrique: In a 1 to 2 quart pan, mix sugar with cup water; cook,  uncovered, over medium-high heat until reduced to a thick caramel-colored syrup, 5 to 10  minutes. Remove from heat and stir until caramel is dissolved. Remove from pan and set  aside. Rinse pan.

    In the same pan, melt butter over medium-high heat; add shallot and cook, stirring  often, until golden, 2-4 minutes. Add wine and cook, uncovered, until most of the liquid  evaporates, about 5 minutes. Add berry puree and cook, uncovered, until reduced by half,  about 6 minutes. Add half the gastrique to pan. Add salt and pepper to taste, set aside.

    Season fish with salt and pepper. Mix thyme and cloves; spread on a large plate. Set  fillets on thyme mixture and coat all sides thoroughly.

    Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Add oil to a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over high heat.  When pan is hot, cook fish until lightly brown, 1-2 minutes per side; transfer to oven in  same pan. Bake fish until barely opaque in thickest part, 4 to 6 minutes.

    While salmon cooks, add whole blackberries to sauce; over medium heat cook gently until  just hot, about 3 minutes.

    Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of sauce onto 4 heated plates, and place fillet on top. Place  whole berries on top and around fillet. Garnish with thyme sprigs.

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