Fridays is market day and I am lucky to have a great fish monger who turns up each week with a selection of freshly caught fish. I rarely plan what I am going to buy never knowing what will turn up on his stall – a bit like fishing I guess! We got talking about how fish is best eaten as close as possible to being caught and how to tell whether your fish really is “catch of the day” or older. I was surprised to learn of an old trick used by less reputable fishmongers to make fish look fresher. Click on Tips and Techniques to find out this insider secret and ways to make sure you’re buying the best possible quality.
Now back to the recipe. Salmon is packed full of Omega- 3 which is essential for a healthy heart, brain, eyes and joints. And although quality salmon might seem expensive, it is a “meaty” fish, so a smallish portion of oily fish is all you need for a satisfying meal. The “three in a bed” combination of spinach, leek and fennel perfectly complements the slightly hot and spicy flavoured salmon-a marriage made in harem!
Grilled Paprika Salmon on a Bed of Fennel Spinach
Prep to Plate: Prep: 10-20 mins Total cooking time: 20 mins
Ingredients: (for 2 people)
- 2 salmon steaks
- 1 medium leek
- 1 garlic clove
- 120 grams fresh spinach
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground fennel
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1-2 teaspoons Paprika (or Spanish pimentón)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- olive oil
- glug of white wine (optional)
- Prepare salmon by removing any scales by scraping off with the back of a knife. Wash and pat dry and set to one side.
- Wash spinach well and remove any thickish stems (these can be used in soups, sauces or vegetable stock.) Chop spinach leaves into thin slices (about 2cm thick.)
3. Wash and chop leek. (See Tips and Techniques for method) Peel and chop garlic clove. Grind fennel seeds.
4. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan and add the leeks and garlic, stirring to make sure they do not burn. Fry for about a minute until leek softens.
5. Add fennel seeds and fry for another minute before adding spinach and a little salt and freshly ground pepper. Continue frying gently and the spinach should start to wilt and shrink before your very eyes. Don’t worry as the spinach releases its liquid it should help prevent the mixture from burning. At this stage you can add a little wine to boost the flavour. Cook for several more minutes. Then set to one side and keep warm. (Alternatively reheat gently before serving.)
6. Lightly coat the salmon with olive oil before coating with paprika, salt and a little pepper. Pan fry or grill. ( I used an electric grill for this recipe which has a cover like a sandwich maker so it grills the fish on both sides, giving it a spicy crust whilst keeping the flesh moist.) Grill the fish for about 6-7 minutes (depending on the thickness of the steak).
Top Tip: To test if the fish is thoroughly cooked, check to see whether the fish is the same even pink colour all the way to the centre. If unsure, poke the flesh gently with a sharp knife. If the flesh pulls away easily, the fish is ready.
To serve: Make a thin bed of fennel spinach about the length and width of your fish. Place fish gently on top. And there you have it ,healthy fast food needn’t be an oxymoron! Enjoy!
(Click here for Roasted Pepper Medley recipe)
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