I love to cook. I don’t always have time to cook, what with deadlines and all, but I do love to cook. Two of my favorite things to eat are seafood and pasta.
If you’ve read my books, you’ll notice my characters are usually eating. Hey, I like to eat. My characters should eat too, right? There’s usually always a kitchen or cooking scene in my books somewhere, or maybe a restaurant scene. I dig food.
One of the things I came up with while writing Changing the Game was that Gavin is a cook. Not just a cook, but a great cook. I found this recipe for Pan Seared Salmon Pasta with Spinach, and not only did I want to fix it, I wanted Gavin to fix it for Liz. So he did. Step by step. Liz loved it. In fact, it gave Liz a lightbulb moment and an idea Gavin wasn’t too fond of. You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens.
In the meantime, here’s the recipe. If you make this dish, let me know what you think!
This recipe is a permanent fixture on my website, in the Look Inside The Book feature. The link is here.
Pan-Seared Salmon Pasta with Spinach
(adapted from the Paupered Chef)
Note: The Paupered Chef site has nice step by step photos of the prep and cooking process for this dish. Really awesome!
8 oz salmon fillet – The size depends on how many you’re feeding. If this is a romantic meal for two, about 8 oz will do.
Fresh spinach (not the frozen boxed stuff)
1 cup heavy cream
Small handful of parsley
3 tablespoons of butter
1/2 pound of pasta (or more if you’re cooking for more people…you be the judge.
Zest of one lemon
Salt and Pepper to taste
Again, this recipe serves 2, but can be adapted for more
Fill a large pot with water and turn it on high for the pasta so you’ll be ready to cook the pasta. This meal cooks fast and you don’t want to sit around and wait for the pasta to cook. Add salt. If the water boils before you’re ready to put in the pasta, turn the heat down.
Melt the butter in a pan set on medium-high. Once the butter has completely melted, foams, and begins to turn a little brown, take the fish and place it in the pan flesh side down.
Sauté the fish for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the skin has nice coloring. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes until the middle has lost much of its redness. Don’t worry about cooking it until completely done, 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. You can use a grate or microplane to do this. 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.
Place a little more butter in the same pan as you cooked the fish, and throw in the spinach. It will seem like a ton of spinach, but it will dramatically shrink in a few minutes.
Once the spinach 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 salmon (if the salmon you bought has skin on the back). It is easy to remove once it has been cooked. You can use a fork or a knife, but it’s pretty easy to do it with your fingers. Be sure to get all the skin off.
Flake the fish into bite sized chunks.
Place the salmon back into the pan, then toss in a handful of parsley.
Drain the cooked pasta, and dump it into the pan. Toss it with a pair of tongs and serve right away.
I like this recipe with warm bread and a side salad. Delicious!