It is the rare day that Mr. O-P., resident salmon cooker, does much cooking any more, but something about blood orange season inspired him and, one afternoon, I found him paging through his self-created cookbook of our favorite salmon recipes.
This one dates back to a 2001 issue of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. We’d tried it back then, loved it enough to try it a number of months later, and then the recipe was pushed to the back of the bulging binder, not to be rediscovered until yesterday. It’s a good one, ample enough on its own with the delicious wilted greens as a base to serve with nothing more than a chilled glass of wine and crusty slice of bread. It’s a lovely and quite romantic dish, so would be perfect if you’re planning something extraordinary for Valentine’s Day this year.
Seared Five-Spice Salmon
with Gingered Blood Oranges
8 Melissa’s blood oranges, divided
4 Atlantic salmon filets, skinned & boned
Chinese Five-Spice Powder
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon peeled fresh ginger, cut into julienne strips
Dried red pepper flakes, to taste
½ cup julienned red onion
4 Belgian endives, core removed and cut into julienne strips
¼ freshly squeezed regular orange juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 cups baby spinach leaves
4 tablespoons cilantro, chopped, divided
Peel four blood oranges and cut into segments. Juice remaining blood oranges, set segments and juice aside.
Preheat a nonstick 9 to 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Dust surface of each salmon fillet with Chinese five-spice powder, sea salt, and black pepper, to taste. Drizzle a few drops of canola oil into the pan to moisten, then add salmon, cooking to sear well.
Turn salmon over, reduce heat to medium. Cook salmon to desired degree of doneness. Remove salmon, tent with foil, and keep warm while sauce cooks.
In another 9 to 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat a few drops of oil over medium-high heat. Add ginger and red pepper flakes. Saute just a minute to release flavors. Add onion, saute until it softens, 2-3 minutes. Add endive, cook to wilt, 1 minute more. Stir in orange juices and honey; cook until liquid is reduced to coat vegetables. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add spinach leaves and saute to wilt, about 1 more minute. Stir in blood orange segments and 2 tablespoons cilantro.
Remove vegetables from sauce with tongs, and mound in the center of warm serving plates. Place salmon carefully on top of vegetables. Spoon remaining sauce (there won’t be much) over salmon. Top with remaining cilantro. Serve immediately.
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