This recipe is easy enough to pull off on a weeknight when you don't have much time (or energy) and fancy enough to make for company. I think I first made this dish for my husband on Valentine's Day after we decided Valentine's Day is the worst evening to eat at a restaurant.
The recipe is originally from Bon Appetit, April 1999. A friend gave me a bunch of her Bon Appetit issues after we got married and reading through them was a big influence on my early days of cooking. I still find little cut out recipes from the pages of her magazines in my cookbooks and cooking notebooks even though now, Epicurious is where I usually go for Gourmet or Bon Appetit recipes.
I've made it without the tarragon before and it was a mistake - a great flavor that really makes the dish. Try to find it fresh when you make this dish. It's easy to double for 4 but if you're not going to go out, think about making this for you and your Valentine!
Seared Salmon on Baby Spinach (serves 2)
2 7-oz skinless salmon fillets
2 T butter
3 large shallots, sliced
1 1/2 T chopped fresh tarragon
3 oz baby spinach
1/3 c. dry white wine
1/4 c. whipping cream
salt & pepper
Sprinkle the salmon with salt and pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the salmon and saute until just opaque in center, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in the same skillet. Add half of the shallots and half of the tarragon and saute 30 seconds. Increase heat to high and add half of the spinach and toss for 30 seconds. Add remaining spinach and toss until wilted. Divide between 2 plates.
Melt the last 1/2 tablespoon butter in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the rest of the shallots and tarragon; saute 30 seconds. Add wine and cream and boil until sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Return salmon to the skillet and simmer for about 1-2 minutes. Arrange salmon atop the spinach and top that with the sauce.