Spinach and Pecan Stuffed Salmon Fillet with Hollandaise Sauce
The key to flavorful and tender salmon is to cook it medium-rare. Just quickly pan-sear the salmon on each side, then bake in the oven for a few minutes. It will come out moist and delicious.
Salmon by itself is incredibly good for you, and these tasty fillets are stuffed with ingredients rich in essential fatty acids and omega-rich nutrients such as pecans, pecan oil, cream cheese, sweet basil, spinach and onion chives.
To make the dish ultra fancy, I served the fish with a Hollandaise sauce, sautéed button mushrooms and wild rice. I figure that with all the healthy ingredients, a little decadence is deserved!
Yields: 8 servings4 salmon fillets (about 7 ounces per fillet)
2-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, + 1/8 teaspoon for the Hollandaise
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 clove garlic, halved lengthwise
1 dozen button mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons dill, chopped
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons onion chives, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest
3/4 cup pecan, halves
16 sweet basil leaves
1 cup baby spinach leaves, tightly packed
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar (optional)
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon cold water
7 tablespoons butter (or more), at room temperature
2 tablespoons pecan oil (optional)
Prepping the salmon:
Ask your fishmonger to skin the salmon fillets and get the pin bones removed. Divide each fillet lengthwise to obtain 8 pieces. Pat dry using paper towels. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne powder. Plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
For the onion chive cream cheese:
Combine the cream cheese, onion chives, sugar, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.
How to roast the pecans (at very low temperature):
Preheat the oven to 170°F.
Spread the nuts onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Roast the pecans for about 10 minutes. Let the nuts cool completely. Rub the nuts between your hands; the skins should come off easily. Do not roast the nuts at a temperature over 170°F or you'll risk breaking healthy fats and lose all the nutrients of the nuts.
Prepping the mushrooms:
In a large non-stick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the halved cloves of garlic and cook until slightly golden. Transfer the garlic to a plate. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate. Season with 1/8 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of dill.
Making the salmon wrap:
Preheat the oven to 500°F.
Pat the salmon dry one more time. Space out 2 basil leaves on the salmon fillet. Cover the rest of the fillet with spinach leaves. Spread the onion chive cream cheese evenly over the salmon and add a layer of pecans. Carefully roll up the salmon fillet tightly. Secure 2 toothpicks into the salmon wrap. Using kitchen shears, snip the pieces of the toothpick sticking out of the fish.
In the same skillet, place the salmon wraps once the oil is hot. Pan-sear each side of the fish for a minute and quickly transfer the salmon rolls to a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Immediately place the salmon wraps in the oven and bake for 8 minutes. (depending on the thickness of the fillet) Remove from the oven, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and pecan oil and allow to rest for about 15 minutes. To check for doneness, a digital thermometer should register 120°F in the thickest part of the salmon fillet.
How to make Hollandaise sauce:
Using an immersion hand blender (at a low speed), combine the egg yolks, vinegar (if used), cold water and 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan (or stainless-steel mixing bowl). Place the saucepan on a double boiler (see tips). Slowly increase the speed of the blender and add the rest of the butter. After a total of about 7-8 minutes, the sauce should be creamy and warm.
It's easy to check the consistency of the sauce: Coat the back of a spoon with the sauce. Run your finger down the back of the spoon. If the line you created with your finger remains, the sauce is ready.
Add the lemon juice, salt, pepper and 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (if used). The sauce is perfect when you get a yellow hue on the spoon. Transfer the sauce to a thermos insulated bottle until ready to serve.
Remove and discard the toothpicks. Line up your serving plates. Place 2 tablespoons of Hollandaise sauce and top with a salmon wrap. Garnish with sliced mushrooms on the sauce and decorate with a sprig of dill.
Serve warm with wild rice and steamed vegetables on the side.
If you don't have salmon, you can make this recipe with any other fish fillets such as grouper. It's just as delicious.
For an easy double boiler, place a small saucepan over a larger-sized saucepan filled with simmering water. I always like to add a little kitchen towel underneath the small saucepan. That way it won't jiggle and there won't be any splatter of water in the Hollandaise sauce.
There's no way you can mess up the Hollandaise sauce if you use a thermometer. Check the temperature of the water in the double boiler; it should register 140°F.
Hollandaise sauce is perfect with steamed veggies such as asparagus or eggs for brunch.
Some people use the blender hollandaise technique by adding warm (melted) clarified butter, but I'm not very comfortable using raw egg yolks. To be safe, you could use pasteurized eggs.
If the Hollandaise sauce breaks (if the eggs have curdled), just let the sauce cool to room temperature, add a little cold water and whisk the sauce until smooth while warming it.
Published By: on December 13, 2009.