Pan-Seared Salmon with Spinach and Shiitake

Note: This post is from the early days of my blog; I no longer eat fish.

We found this one on Fine Cooking’s website; the link will take you to the recipe.  Salmon is high in protein, omega-3‘s, and Vitamin D, among other vitamins.  Wild-caught salmon is much better both nutritionally and gustatorily than farm-raised salmon, as is the case with most fish and meats.  We buy wild-caught when we can find it, but the only salmon at the store today was farm-raised.  And what more is there to say about spinach than “look at Popeye“?

Only one modification was required to meet the 10-Day Challenge’s no-dairy rule, and that was to substitute soy milk for the heavy cream.  I wasn’t sure how this would work, but it actually turned out just fine.  The soy milk evaporated faster than heavy cream usually does, so the result was that the spinach-shiitake mixture was perhaps a little thicker than it would have been otherwise.  Our piece of salmon took much longer to cook than the time given in the recipe, so I ended up putting the whole pan in a 400-degree oven to avoid burning the outsides.  By the way, this technique (pan-roasting) is a great way to get a nice sear on the outside but avoid drying the fish out.  Just sear until one side is nicely-colored, then flip the fish and put the pan in a preheated oven until it’s cooked through.  It’s also a great way to sear your entire hand if you don’t leave the potholder on the panhandle after the pan is out of the oven!  I know this from experience (actually two experiences, within a week of each other, the second of which delighted Erin).

Here’s how it turned out:

[Matt photo]

[Salmon Photo]

This dish was really good!  We found that there wasn’t quite enough lemon pan-sauce to drizzle, so we added some more lemon to the salmon on the plates.  The salmon was nice and simple, but the spinach-shiitake mixture is what made the dish for us.  It had a surprising heartiness to it.   My only complaint was that there wasn’t enough of it; in fact if I make this again I’ll double that part.  All in all we give it 4 stars out of 5.  Actually, we need a more exciting rating scale than stars, and Erin has suggested cows instead.  So 4 cows out of 5.

Red Meat Consumption Linked to Early Death

Someone sent me this link today [UPDATE: link no longer works]; the story was on the front page of Yahoo! news and the Washington Post.  It seems like every day a new study finds that some food is good/bad for you, contradicting the previous month’s study which showed that the same food is bad/good for you.  But for what it’s worth, I thought I’d share the latest.

Tomorrow’s meal: Pasta with Roasted Cauliflour, Arugula and Prosciutto (minus the prosciutto).



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  1. This dish looks great! I’m not much of a Salmon man myself. Would you recommend any other type of fish that would go well with the spinach?

  2. Christine says:

    yeah that does look delish! Any difference using fresh or frozen fish? I shop at Costco and usually end up freezing the majority of fresh food I get. I’ve been eyeing up their massive hunks of salmon but was nervous about the investment. With a rating like 4 out of 5 cows, I think now’s the time!

    I’m surprised to hear that wild salmon is more nutritious. Just seems like the people who raise salmon would alter the conditions/diet until their salmon were the best.

  3. Don,
    Thanks for checking out the blog. I don’t really know what other fish goes particularly well with spinach. I’d just make it with a mild white fish like cod or halibut and see how it is.

  4. I love the pictures! NICE presentation! I have had ths dish before- when you made it. It IS wonderful!!!

  5. I’ve actually heard that frozen fish can often be more reliable than fresh… if they flash freeze it on the boat, then there’s not much that can go wrong with it.

    I think that just like over-farmed fruits and vegetables, they do alter the conditions to make the salmon bigger. But bigger doesn’t mean better, because the flavor and nutrient content gets diluted as the fish gets bigger.

  6. Actually it’s not something we’ve had before. Although come to think of it, it’s really close to what we had with you once. I think that was salmon served over and arugula, leek, and shiitake salad. Similar, but not the same.

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