Saturday, April 11, 2009
This is one of the first meals I perfected on my own. It was inspired by a Giada de Laurentiis recipe that I saw on her show several years ago. That was when I was first starting to experiment in the kitchen, though I was definitely quite the amateur. I made this meal so many times, changing it a bit here and there, and eventually perfected it. On my own. No cookbook in sight. I decided this would be my Go To recipe, the meal I would impress friends, family, and most importantly, the future love of my life with. They do say, after all, that the way to a person's heart is through their stomach.
Well, the irony of course is that a year or so later, I fell in love with my husband, a man who doesn't eat seafood. I never got to test my theory that this would be the meal that would make the love of my life fall in love with me. And I think it's safe to say that if I had made this for him, he would have refused to eat it. After I dropped him off at the airport this morning for his solo trip to Chicago, I stopped on the way home to pick up salmon fillets, mushrooms, and spinach. I was going to make my piece de resistance.
And I did. So here it is, in all its glory. I chose to show you a picture of it (above) before it was cooked, since it is admittedly much more attractive that way. But trust me, it's delicious. If you make it for the object of your affection, I'm sure he or she will fall at your feet. Assuming they like seafood. And mushrooms, for that matter (though those are negotiable in this recipe. The salmon is not.)
Salmon Packets (a.k.a. Heartbreaker Packets)
2 cups (loosely packed) baby spinach
6 cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 tablespoon chopped lemongrass (or lemongrass paste)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 pound salmon fillet (preferably wild + Pacific)
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
handful cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400. Place a large piece of foil, about 8 x 11, on a baking sheet. Create a lip by folding up the edges so that juices don't run over the sides during preparation.
2. Pile the spinach onto the middle of the packet. Don't be shy, as it will virtually disappear when it cooks in the salmon juices. Place mushroom slices and lemon grass on top. Drizzle lemon juice over it.
3. Place the salmon piece(s) over the vegetables. Top with ginger and cilantro leaves. Drizzle sesame oil and soy sauce over the top. Create a packet with the foil, folding over the top and the sides to enclose the salmon and veg. It should be completely enclosed.
4. Bake for 25 minutes. Check to see if the salmon is done by carefully opening the foil packet. If it isn't done yet, return to oven but leave the packet open. Cook another 5 minutes or so, until salmon is cooked through. Do not overcook.
This is excellent served over brown rice. Make sure you spoon out some of the juices from the packet over the top of your salmon. Enjoy!