I made this lovely dish for Easter dinner. The sauce was absolutely incredible. I also loved that the salmon was served over a plate of sautéed vegetables. The recipe was adapted from one of the most popular menu items at NYC’s Union Square Café in the 1990’s.
The recipe is from the 40th Anniversary Special Edition of Food and Wine magazine titled “Our 40 Best-Ever Recipes,” contributed by Michael Romano. I am keeping this issue as a “cookbook” because I want to try so many (practically all!) of the dishes. The issue states that this salmon dish is one of the best recipes Food and Wine has ever published. Very special.
We finished our meal with a celebratory Bunny Cake, of course!
Yield: Serves 4 as a main course or 6 as a first course (this recipe can be doubled easily)
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter (6 ounces), divided
- 1 cup thinly sliced red onion (I used 1/2 of a large red onion)
- 3 garlic cloves (2 thinly sliced and 1 whole), divided
- 1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and reserved, caps quartered, divided
- 1 medium-size ripe tomato, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup water
- coarse salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 pound fresh spinach
- 2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 3-4 ears)
- 1 (1 to 1 1/2 pound) center-cut salmon fillet, sliced crosswise into 4 to 6 strips
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
Make the Sauce:
- Cut 6 tablespoons butter into 1/2-inch cubes, and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium nonreactive saucepan over medium-low.
- Add onion, sliced garlic, shiitake stems, tomato, black peppercorns, and bay leaf, and cook until vegetables are soft but not brown, about 12 minutes.
- Add balsamic vinegar and 1/3 cup water, increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is syrupy, about 4 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low, and add cubed butter, 2 to 3 pieces at a time, whisking thoroughly between additions.
- Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour sauce through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl; discard solids.
- Keep sauce warm over a double boiler.
- Spear whole garlic clove with a dinner fork. (I’ve never done this before- genius!)
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over high until just beginning to smoke.
- Add spinach; cook, stirring using fork with garlic clove, until spinach is wilted.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste; transfer to a colander to drain. Discard garlic clove.
- Wipe skillet clean with paper towels. Reduce heat to medium, and add 3 tablespoons butter.
- Add shiitake caps, and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in corn kernels; cook until completely heated through, about 3 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a bowl, and keep warm.
- Increase heat to high, and add remaining 1 tablespoon butter and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet.
- Season salmon strips with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add fish to skillet, and cook until browned but barely cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.
- Divide spinach among 6 plates; surround with corn and shiitakes.
- Place a salmon strip on top of spinach, and spoon vinegar sauce on fish.
- Garnish with a sprinkling of chives; serve immediately.