BAKED SIDE OF SALMON WITH CURRIED SPINACH (for six to eight)
one 2-1/2 to 3 pound side of salmon
3 pounds fresh spinach, stemmed and washed thoroughly, but not dried, or 2 ten-ounce packages of frozen leaf spinach
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ large Spanish onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3-1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup low-salt chicken broth
1 tablespoon Pernod or other anise-flavored liqueur
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper taste
1 tablespoon melted, unsalted butter
½ large lemon, thinly sliced
- If using fresh spinach, in a large skillet wilt the spinach in batches over high heat, stirring with tongs. As each batch is done, transfer it to a colander set over a sink. When the spinach is cool enough to handle, gently squeeze it to remove some of the water, but leave it moist. Coarsely chop the fresh or the thawed spinach.
- Heat the oil in the skillet, add the onion and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and curry powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir the spinach into the skillet along with the cream, stock and Pernod and simmer over low heat 10 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. (Spinach may be made 1 day ahead and kept, covered and chilled. Reheat carefully and slowly before proceeding).
- Preheat the oven to 450*. Generously butter a deep, oven-proof, oven-to-table platter and spread it with the creamed spinach. Rinse the salmon under cold water, pat it dry with paper towels, and remove any protruding small bones with tweasers. Place the salmon on top of the spinach, skin side down, rub it with the lemon juice, brush with melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Bake the salmon for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 350* and bake for 10 minutes more, or until it is cooked through and the spinach is bubbling. Let stand for 5 minutes and garnish with lemon slices.
adapted from Food and Wine Magazine