I thought of this delicious way of serving salmon one day, when expected friends over for dinner. I wanted to make something fancier than my usual, simply broiled salmon, seasoned with salt and pepper. I would usually make it in my favorite kitchen appliance in the world (toaster oven), and saute some fresh spinach on olive oil with little bit of sliced garlic. This time, with just a little added – I must say that the Béchamel sauce brought the dish to an entire new level. The sauce is the most difficult part of this recipe. But don’t get discouraged – it sounds more difficult than it really is. To prepare this dish took me less than half an hour.
Seared Salmon on the bed of Sautéed Spinach and Caper Béchamel Sauce
4 portions of salmon (or how many you need)
1 bag of baby spinach, washed
2 cloves of garlic
1 and ½ cup of milk
1 carrot, peeled and finely sliced
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 table spoon unsalted butter
2 table spoons flour
2 dried cloves
1 bay leaf
2 table spoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon capers (drained)
Salt and pepper
In a small pan heat up the butter and saute chopped onion and carrot, slightly seasoned with salt and pepper about 3-4 minutes, until soft. Add cloves, bay leaf and 1 spoon of green parsley and let saute for a minute with onions and carrots. Sprinkle with flour, slightly mix together and saute for another minute. Add milk and whisk together on low heat, until thickened.
Strain the ready sauce, taste for seasoning, and spice it up with the rest of fresh chopped parsley and drained capers. Set aside.
In a heavy pan (or in the skillet) heat olive oil, and put seasoned salmon (really, just salt and pepper), skin side down on hot skillet. Cook without touching at least 3 minutes, until crisp. Carefully turn around and finish cooking – about 2 minutes more, depends on the thickness of your fish.
In the meantime, start another pan, olive oil, add washed spinach and start turning it around until it reduces into about half of the original amount. Add salt and pepper, thinly sliced garlic and cook few minutes, just it softens.
Pour Béchamel sauce to the bottom of the plate, add a little bit of sauteed spinach over it and place the portion of salmon on top. I have put a slice of lemon on to each salmon and seared a large shrimp for each plate, just for decoration purposes. OK, that shrimp was delicious too.
I have paired this dish with Adelsheim Pinot Noir. I loved it. If you feel more comfortable with white, you can either choose oaky Chardonnay, that compliments the sauce with its creamy, bigger body texture – or crisp, un-oaked Chardonnay, or other white variety wine, that will cut through the creaminess of the dish. Grüner Veltliner anyone?