Pan-Seared Salmon Pasta with Spinach
- 8 oz salmon fillet
- 5 oz fresh spinach (half a bag)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Small handful of parsley
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 1/2 pound of pasta (half a box)
- Zest of one lemon
- Salt and Pepper to taste
First things first, fill a large pot with water, salt it, and turn it on high for the pasta. This recipe doesn't take that much time, so having the water ready will avoid aimless standing in the kitchen.
Melt some butter in a pan over medium-high. Once the butter has completely melted, foams, and just begins to take on a brown shade, take the fish and place it in the pan flesh side down. Since the salmon is going to be broken up into the pasta, there's no need to splurge for salmon steaks, which run you around twice the price.
Sauté the fish for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the skin has nice coloring like in this beautiful picture. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes until the middle has lost much of its redness. Don't worry too much, since the fish will be placed into the sauce later in the recipe and will finish cooking if need be. You're developing a nice crust in this stage. When ready, remove the fish and place it on a cutting board.
Remove the zest from one lemon. This can be done in various ways, but we just use a microplane cheese grater. Vegetable peelers work, too--make sure to use only the yellow skin and not the bitter white layer beneath it. Finely chop a handful of parsley.
Wash the spinach in a colander.
Place a little more butter in the same pan as you cooked the fish, and throw in the spinach. It will seem like an absurd amount of spinach, but it will dramatically shrink in a few moments.
Once it has condensed by half, throw in the lemon zest. Now is a good time to check the pot of boiling water, as the rest of the recipe will be done in 10 minutes. If ready, throw in the pasta.
Once the spinach looks wilted, pour the heavy cream into the pan and let it reduce for a few minutes, depending on how far along your pasta is.
Meanwhile, remove the skin from the back of the fish. It is surprisingly easy to remove once it has been cooked. You can use a fork or a knife, but it is honestly much easier to peel back with your fingers. Get all of it completely off.
Flake the fish with two forks. While the meat is tender and can easily be forced apart, try to feel with the forks for the parts that will separate naturally. This will make the chunks stay together better in the pasta.
Place the salmon back into the pan, then toss in a whole handful of finely chopped parsley.
Drain the cooked pasta, and dump it into the pan. Toss it with a pair of tongs and serve right away.
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