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 touch 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 sauté 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 sauté for another minute. Sprinkle with flour, slightly mix together and sauté until combined. Add milk and whisk together on low heat, until thickened.
Strain the ready sauce into a small saucer, and adjust seasoning if desired. Add the rest of fine chopped fresh parsley and drained capers. Set aside.
In a heavy pan (or in the skillet) heat olive oil until hot, but not smoking. Place seasoned salmon (really, just salt and pepper), patted dry with paper towel, skin side down on hot skillet. Cook without touching for at least 3 minutes, until crisp. Carefully turn around and finish cooking – about 2 minutes more, depends on the thickness of your fish. Or, you can put it to the the oven after you turn the fish around and let finish cooking for about 5 minutes, at 350˚F.
In the meantime, heat olive oil in a deeper pan, add washed spinach and on medium low heat start turning it around until it reduces into about 1/3 of the original amount. Add salt and pepper, thinly sliced garlic and cook few more minutes, just to soften.
Pour hot Béchamel sauce to the bottom of the plate, add a little bit of sautéed spinach over it and place the portion of salmon on top. For a nicer presentation, I put a slice of lemon on each salmon and seared a large shrimp for each plate. Never enough of yummy shrimp!
I have paired this dish with Adelsheim Pinot Noir and realy enjoyed the pairing. If you feel more comfortable with white wine, you can either choose crisp, un-oaked Chardonnay, that cuts through the creaminess of the sauce, or other white variety such as Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc…. or perhaps Grüner Veltliner anyone?