All recipes paired with wine, Fish and Seafood

Seared Salmon on the bed of Sautéed Spinach and Caper Béchamel Sauce

Seared Salmon w Bechamel Sauce

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!

Salmon with Bechamel sauce and sauteed spinach

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?

Oregon, Pinot Noir, Red wine, Villamette Valley

Adelsheim Pinot Noir 2006

Winemaker: Dave Paige
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir
Region: Villamette Valley, Oregon

Adelsheim family makes Pinot Noir since 1970. I personally love Pinot Noir from this particular region the most. To me, that’s how the true Pinot Noir supposed to taste like (aside of Burdgundy, of course). Most of the grapes, sourced for Adelsheim Pinot Noir, came from their seven estate vineyards and about 25% from nine vineyards in other parts of the Willamette Valley.

The secret to complexity of their wine is in blending several different clones of Pinot, (originally brought to Oregon from Burgundy) and several different soil types and appellations. Since each lot has vine of different age and sun exposure, it produces a different style and flavors of Pinot Noir as well. This diversity allows the winemaker to create a very unique blend.

Since all the grapes weren’t picked at the same time, the final blend was created after each lot was destemmed, macerated, pressed and underwent a 7 – 10 days fermentation in open vats. After that the final blend underwent a malolactic fermentation in small French oak barrels. Wine was estate bottled and released after a few additional months of aging.

The portrait of Diana Lett on the Pinot Noir label was created by Ginny Adelsheim. It is a tribute to special woman, that together with her husband founded a first Oregon Pinot Noir winery (The Eyrie Vineyards) and as a thank you for her friendship.

Tasting notes:
Beautiful light ruby color. Rich aroma of freshly crushed cherries and blueberries, mixed with oak spices and dust of cocoa. Just the right amount of acidity and soft tannins cause the desire for a second glass. Nice, long finish. Blending different flavors and styles of Pinot Noir as Adelsheim does, successfully competes with many single vineyard Pinot Noirs, carrying much higher price tag.

Dry – Off dry – Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: under $ 30.00

Ideal food pairing:
salmon, grilled sea bass, veal dishes, hearty vegetarian dishes, duck or dark turkey meat, medium aged cheeses