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Salmon Poached with Spinach and Bengali Five-Spice Mix

From Madhur Jaffrey’s Spice Kitchen. This recipe is a favorite of ours. The end result gets rave reviews.

1 1/2 pounds salmon fillet skin removed.
freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/8 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/8 teaspoon kalonji
A large onion, peeled and cut in half lengthwise and then crosswise into thin half-rings
1 1 1/2 inch cube of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into very thin slices and then into very fine slivers
1 pound trimmed fresh spinach or chard, finely shredded
8 canned tomatoes, chopped, or fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

Cut the salmon crosswise into 5 or 6 portions. Pull out the bones with a pair of tweezers. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides and set aside for 20 minutes or longer.
Heat oil in a very large frying pan or a very wide saute pan over medium-high heat. When very hot, add the cumin, mustard, seeds, fennel, fenugreek, and kalonji. Stir once or twice and quickly add the onions and ginger. Stir until the onion just starts to brown, then add the spinach. Saute for about 5 minutes, then add the tomatoes. Continue to saute for another 4 to 5 minutes. Add the cream and 2 cups of water, cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt, and some black pepper. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, over low heat for 5 minutes. This can be done ahead of time.
Just before you sit down to eat, bring the sauce to a simmer again. Lay fish pieces in a single layer over the sauce. Spoon some of the thinner, more watery parts of the sauce over the fish. Cover. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the fish has just cooked through.


And today’s special is ..
We must select the illusion which appeals to our temperament and embrace it with passion, if we want to be happy. – Cyril Connolly

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