Poached salmon combined with spinach and a shallot-flavored cream provides the sauce for this exquisite dish. To ensure that the salmon remains moist, I use a fish poacher and a cooking thermometer to gauge when the fish is cooked. A large deep skillet or pot with a rack can be used in place of a fish poacher.
1 3/4 pounds salmon fillet, in one piece
1 large bay leaf
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
4 tablespoons butter
4 large shallots, minced
One 10-ounce bag fresh spinach, cooked, squeezed dry, and finely chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 pound fettuccine
Place the salmon fillet skin side down on the rack of a fish poacher and set aside. Fill the poacher with enough water to come halfway up the sides, add the bay leaf and 1 teaspoon of the salt, and bring to a simmer. Lower the rack into the poacher, submerging the salmon. Cover and poach the salmon until the fish easily flakes with a fork and registers 175º to 185ºF on an instant-read thermometer, 8 to 10 minutes.
Carefully lift the poaching rack out of the poacher, draining the salmon well. When the salmon is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin. Cut the salmon into 1-inch chunks.
In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the shallots and cook until they are very soft. Add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream, lemon zest, and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and bring to a simmer. Add the salmon, mixing carefully. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add the fettuccine and cook until al dente. Drain and place on a large platter.
Pour the salmon sauce over the fettuccine and gently toss. Serve immediately.
This recipe is from CELEBRATIONS ITALIAN STYLE by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company, Inc., in 1995.
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