Sunday, September 7, 2008

Spinach Salad with Roasted Salmon and Potatoes

Okay, I'll be 100% kids don't care much for fish. If it's fried, they love it. We can take them to the fish fry during Lent every year, and they chow down. But if I try to serve fish without breading on it, everyone except Rebecca will complain. So like most moms, I keep a bag of fish sticks in the freezer, and add a healthy vegetable, but I still cook fish fillets for David. I am trying to cook fish/vegetarian every Friday, but I do come up short sometimes.

Now I know what you're thinking... I don't know how to clean and prep fish. It's really easy. If you just can't bring yourself to do it, ask the nice guy behind the fish counter to skin the fish and cut it into portions for you. I go to only one grocery store to buy fish-- the people behind the counter recognize me, and they'll always portion my order if I ask them to. I try to buy the fish in the seafood case when it's on sale because it's fresher and it tastes better than the fish in the freezer section. My mom used to cook the whole fish-- and I've never done that. If you buy the fish ready to go, there's no reason why you can't make this dish.

This recipe is very easy and really healthy. All you people out there with doctors ordering you to eat better and get your heart healthy Omega 3's, this one's for you.

I changed one ingredient from the original recipe. I don't use arugula because it's always more expensive, and it's peppery, which some people like, but I don't like my salad greens that way. I substituted spinach instead because it's always available and good for you too. If you don't like spinach, you can use a leaf lettuce-- green, red, Boston, etc. Just don't use iceberg, it's too bland to stand up to the salmon and potatoes. I also cut back a little on the vinegar-- I thought it made the dressing too acidic. Next time I make this, I want to try balsamic vinegar, since it's a bit sweeter. One more thing...the easiest way to cut up chives is to use a pair of kitchen shears/scissors. If you do use a knife and cutting board, be prepared for flying chives.

Spinach Salad with Roasted Salmon and Potatoes

1 pound of new red potatoes, scrubbed clean and cut into quarters
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 pound skinless salmon fillet
2 tablespoons white/red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/4 cup fresh snipped chives
1 10 ounce bag of baby spinach

First, if you are like me and buy the salmon skin on, you'll need to clean off the scales. I buy salmon with the skin on because it is much easier to cook that way. The skin keeps the flesh together, and it won't all fall apart on you as you're trying to flip it, turn it, etc. Once it's cooked, the skin comes off easily, so you don't have to eat it if you don't like it.

Take the fillet and hold it in the sink, and turn your water on so you have a slow, steady stream. Use a sharp knife and scrap off all the scales away from you. The water will help wash away the scales. This will get a little messy, so take your time. The scales are shiny, so just look over the whole fillet when you're done to make sure there aren't any shiny spots left. Here's a picture I took after I cleaned one fillet. I couldn't take one while I was scrapping because I needed both hands. The fillet on the left has been cleaned, and the fillet on the right still has the scales on.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a piece of aluminum foil. Put the potatoes on the baking sheet and toss with one tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast the potatoes for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, season the salmon with salt and pepper. (Sometimes, I drizzle the fish with just a tad of olive oil too). Now you can make the dressing. In a bowl, whisk the rest of the olive oil, (2 tablespoons), the vinegar, mustard, and chives together. Add salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.

After ten minutes, take the potatoes out, and push them over so you have room to put the salmon down. Put the potatoes and salmon (skin side down) back in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork and the potatoes are tender. The fish should look opaque, and the potatoes will be a nice golden brown.

On a large plate, arrange a nice big handful of spinach. Take the salmon and break it into large pieces with a fork. Top the spinach with some of the salmon and potatoes, and drizzle over some of the dressing.

This recipe makes 4 servings, so if you're making this for 4, just divide everything between 4 plates. The kids had leftovers, so I make a plate for David and I, and we'll have enough for dinner tomorrow night too.

God Bless your table tonight!


Mary said...

I really love how you take pictures of your dishes during and finished. I am a very visual cook - this is great!!! Can't wait to try this salad.

Ginkgo100 said...

I always make my salmon with the skin because the skin is the best part! But it's almost always completely cleaned (no scales) when I buy from the grocery store fish counters. In fact, I've only once brought home salmon fillets that still had scales -- and boy, was I mad! Does your fish counter always give it to you with scales?

I did learn a new skill, though. I already knew how to do all the steps of cleaning a fish except the scaling (funny, I know), so now I can say I know how to clean a fish completely!