Friday, March 28, 2014

Pan-Seared Salmon with Mustard-Caper Butter Sauce

I have a full blown love affair with salmon. Grilled, cured, smoked or raw, it's my absolute favourite fish. One of the ocean's super-foods, salmon is positively packed with nutrients, especially protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. It's also entirely carb free. Served over a mound of steamed spinach, which is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and you've got the basis for a beautiful, healthy, heart-smart meal. That is until we throw a saucy spanner in the works with a soupçon of Mustard-Caper Butter Sauce and a dollop of Sour Cream with Dill. Salmon, spinach, lemon, capers and dill — oh my! Now we have a gastronomic marriage made in culinary heaven.

Mustard-Caper Butter with butter, chopped capers, dil, olive oil, grainy mustard, lemon zest, 
salt and pepper, blended in a food processor until smooth

Then melted over medium heat

Dill Sour Cream with chopped dil, sour cream and mayonnaise seasoned 
with salt and white pepper

Fresh spinach steamed until wilted and spiked with a dollop of butter

Two Irish organic salmon filets

Dredged in vegetable oil and seasoned with salt and white pepper

Seared skin side down in a non-stick oven-proof pan over high heat for 2-3 minutes, 
until the skin is brown and crispy

Pan Seared Wild Irish Salmon with Mustard-Caper Butter Sauce
Serves 2

2 centre-cut wild Irish salmon filets (I get mine from Diana's)
Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
1 tbsp vegetable oil
8 ounces spinach
1 tsp butter

Mustard-Caper Butter:
3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp drained capers, coarsely chopped
3 tsp coarsely chopped fresh dill, plus whole sprigs for garnish
1 tsp grainy mustard
1 tbsp olive oil
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon, plus thin slices for garnish
Freshly ground pepper

Sour Cream Dill Sauce:
1/3 cup sour cream or plain Greek Yogurt
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste

Prepare the mustard-caper butter sauce by combining all of the ingredients in a processor and blend until smooth. Spoon into a saucepan and warm over medium heat until melted. Cover and keep warm until needed. Combine the sour cream, mayonnaise and dill in a small bowl and season with salt and white pepper to taste. Blend and cover with plastic wrap; chill until ready.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Rub both sides of salmon fillets with vegetable oil and season with salt and white pepper. Heat an oven-proof non-stick sauté pan over high heat. When the pan is very hot, swirl in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and then add the salmon filets, skin side down. Sear for 3 minutes or until the skin is brown and crispy, then place the pan in the oven and bake for 4-6 minutes, or until the salmon is just cooked through.

While the salmon is in the oven, steam the spinach until just wilted. Dot with some butter if desired, cover and set aside.

To serve, place a mound of spinach in centre of each plate and top with a salmon fillet, skin side up. Drizzle melted mustard-caper butter sauce around the plate and a little over top of the salmon. Garnish with 2 lemon slices, a dollop of Dill Sour Cream, and top with a sprig of dill and serve immediately accompanied with a bowl of Lemon Dill Rice.

Lemon Rice Mitchell
Serves 2

1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp chopped fresh lemon rind, plus curls for garnish
2 tbsp fresh chopped dill
2 tbsp unsalted butter

Mix the broth, rice and garlic in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low for 20-30 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the lemon rind, dill and butter and serve garnished with dill sprigs and lemon curls.