Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Seared Salmon with Spinach and Creamy Roasted Peppers

Goal: Eat more salmon. Issue: I don't really care for salmon. Solution: Try to hide it?

Bo has high cholesterol. In trying very hard to bring it down, I have pledged to make salmon once a week. There. I put it in writing. Now it is real.

Salmon is full of Omega3 Fatty Acids, which is very good to lower bad cholesterol. It is important for it to be in our diet. I don't really like the strong flavor or the way it is usually cooked - grilled with a bit of salt and pepper. If I am to be able to eat AND enjoy it, it needs to have other strong flavors involved to satisfy my tongue!

Seared Salmon with Spinach and Creamy Roasted Peppers is from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless. Since I love both spinach and peppers (especially when I get to roast them!), and the word "creamy" is always pleasing to my ears, it seemed a perfect starting place.

The "cream" sauce was fun to make and smelled terrific. Gently sauteing the spinach in the bubbling mixture made for a lovely pale green. And the best part was plating the sauce with the seared salmon, which was cooked with liberal amounts of salt and pepper and in the lovely garlicky oil.

Serving with white rice would make an elegant meal for guests. Or for a special night at home. We ate ours with corn tortillas from the freezer, also a good choice as they complemented the masa in the sauce nicely.

Rounded out with a crisp white wine - well the salmon was tolerable! Almost enjoyable!

Of course, anything is enjoyable if served with wine!

Seared Salmon with Spinach and Creamy Roasted Peppers
(Rick Bayless)
2 fresh poblano chiles
10 ounces cleaned spinach
3 tb. olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1-2 tb. masa harina (mexican corn "flour" used for making tortillas)
1 1/2 cups milk, plus a little more if needed
Four 4 to 5 ( 1 1/4 pounds total) skinless samon fillets
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Turn the oven on its lowest setting.

Heat the oil in a very large skillet, preferably non-stick, over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring regularly, until soft and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the garlic into a blender. Set the skillet aside.

Rub the blackened skin off the chiles and pull out the stems and seed pods. Rinse the chiles to remove bits of skin and seeds. Roughly chop and add to the blender, along with the masa harina and milk. Blend until smooth.

Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Sprinkle both sides of fish liberally with salt and pepper. Lay the fillets in the hot oil and cook until richly browned, about 2-3 minutes.

Use a spatula to flip the fillets, and cook until the fish barely flakes when pressed firmly with a finger or back of a spoon (you want it slightly underdone), ususally a couple of minutes longer for fish that is about 1 inch thick. Using the spatula, transfer the fish to an ovenproof plate and set in the oven.

With the skillet still over medium- high, pour in the poblano mixture and whisk until it comes to a boil and thickens, about 1 minute.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes to blend the flavors. If the sauce has thickened past the consistently of a cream soup, whisk in a little more milk. Taste and season with salt, add the spinach to the sauce and stir until it is warm and well coated with sauce.

Divide the creamy spinach among plates, top each with portion of the salmon. Or you can spoon the sauce over the fish.

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