I was 11 years old when I first sunk my teeth into the tarragon chicken salad sandwich at a local Vancouver sandwich shop. I don’t know if the shop still exists or, if they do, whether or not that chicken salad is still on their menu, but it will live on in my bank of food memories for years to come. My dad, our family’s own sandwich Michelangelo (seriously, the guy can build a mean sandwich), decided to take my mum and me out for lunch at a sandwich shop near his office. When I ordered the tarragon chicken salad sandwich, I didn’t actually know what tarragon was. Nor did I care. I loved mayonnaise (still do) and the only thing that mattered to me was that the chicken salad being heaved onto my sandwich with an ice cream scoop was laden with the creamy goodness. Then I took a bite. Creamy goodness…check. Fresh, tender chicken…check. Fresh licorice, herbal taste…huh? Of course, it was the tarragon. I was hooked.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil and then add the salmon, skin side down.
Cook until the salmon is cooked almost all the way through, about 4-5 minutes. Flip the salmon and cook for about 2 more minutes, or until the salmon is just cooked through. Place the salmon on a plate and set aside.
Pour the excess oil out of the pan and place the pan back on the stove, over medium heat. Add 4 tablespoons of butter to the pan. Once the butter melts, add 3 tablespoons of chopped shallots and squeeze in the juice of 1/2 large lemon.
Add 3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon, season the sauce with salt and pepper, and cook for 1 minute.
Plate the salmon, spoon the sauce over each piece, and serve immediately.