The three different elements of this recipe - the salmon, spinach soubise, and the wilted leeks and Meyer lemon butter - meld together beautifully to give you an impressively delicious salmon dish. While the recipe looks complicated, it’s actually fairly simple to make and a must try if you are looking for something different than your basic fillet of salmon that’s grilled or broiled with salt and pepper.
For the salmon and Meyer lemon butter:
- 6 fillets wild salmon, 5 to 6 ounces each, skin on
- 1 tablespoon Meyer lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, plus 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 whole Meyer lemon
- 3 tablespoon finely diced shallots
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice
- 1 bay leaf, fresh if possible
- 2 black peppercorns
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 3/4 cup thinly sliced leeks
- 2 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Spinach Soubise:
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 cup diced white onion plus 6 cups thinly sliced white onions (about 1-1/2 pounds)
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
- 1/4 cup Arborio rice
- 1/2 pound spinach, cleaned, plus 2 cups thinly sliced spinach
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Step 1: For the spinach soubise: Preheat oven to 350 F
Step 2: Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the butter and when it foams, add the diced and sliced onions, thyme, 2 teaspoons salt, and the white pepper.
Step 3: Turn the heat down to medium-low, and cook the onions gently for about 10 minutes, stirring often. They should soften and wilt but not be allowed to color at all.
Step 4: While the onions are cooking, bring a small pot of water (about 1 cup) to a boil. Cook the rice for 5 minutes, and drain well. Stir the blanched rice into the onions
Step 5: Remove the pot from the heat. Cover it with aluminum foil and a tight-fitting lid. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes.
Step 6: While the soubise is cooking, bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Blanch the 1/2 pound of spinach for 30 seconds, and cool in a bowl of ice water.
Step 7: Squeeze out all the excess water, and puree in a food processor. You will need to add a little (about 2 to 4 tablespoons) to get the puree going; just be careful to add the smallest amount necessary.
Step 8: Remove the soubise from the oven, and let it “rest,” covered, about 15 minutes
Step 9: Just before serving , uncover the soubise and heat it over medium heat, stirring once or twice. When the soubise is hot, stir in the spinach puree, sliced spinach, and cream. Taste for seasoning.
Step 10: For the wild salmon, wilted leeks, and Meyer lemon butter: Season the salmon with the zest, thyme leaves, and parsley. Cover and refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
Step 11: Remove the fish from the refrigerator 15 minutes before cooking, to bring it to room temperature.
Step 12: Slice the stem and blossom ends from the Meyer lemon. Stand the lemon on one end, and cut it vertically into 1/8-inch slices. Stack the slices in small piles on a cutting board, and cut them lengthwise into 1/8-inch matchsticks. Line up the matchsticks, and cut them into 1/8-inch cubes. You will need 1/4 cup diced lemon.
Step 13: Place the shallots, white wine, Meyer-lemon juice, bay leaf, peppercorns, and thyme sprigs in a medium nonreactive saucepan , and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for about 5 minutes until the liquid is reduced to 2 tablespoons, and then add the cream.
Step 14: Turn the heat down to medium-low, and cook for about another 5 minutes, until the cream is reduced by half and is thickened and glossy.
Step 15: Slowly add the butter, whisking constantly, until it is completely incorporated.
Step 16: Strain the butter sauce into a clean saucepan, and add the leeks, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and few grindings of black pepper.
Step 17: Cook over low heat for a minute or two, until the leeks are wilted. Stir in the diced Meyer lemon, and taste for balance and seasoning. Keep the sauce warm.
Step 18: Heat a large sauté pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides. Swirl the olive oil into the pan, and wait 1 minute.
Step 19: Carefully lay the fish in the pan skin-side down, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the skin is crisp. Turn the fish over, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook for another minute or two, until the salmon is still a little rare in the center. Remember the fish will continue to cook a bit more once you take it out of the pan.
Step 20: Spoon the hot spinach soubise onto the center of six large dinner plates. Place the salmon on top, skin-side up, and spoon a few tablespoons of the Meyer-lemon butter over the fish and around the soubise.