I’m not usually the most pleasant person during my commute — not that I’m particularly unpleasant, but I typically don’t go out of my way to socialize with other people on the bus. In fact, I find it really annoying when I’m sitting near people who won’tjustshutupfortheloveofgodandlettherestofustakeanaporread, so I try to do unto others, etc. But one evening, I happened to sit next to a woman who, like me, was reading and dog-earing a cooking magazine; well, one thing led to another and before I knew it we were trading recipes and sharing stories.
Gawd, I can be SO annoying.
I’ve thought about her often in the months since — how she doesn’t bake bread anymore since a sudden onset of psoriatic arthritis left her in near-constant pain, about her love of Italian food, and of her passion for finding healthy recipes her brother can test, given his own health woes. One of the recipes she shared with me was for salmon with an orange marinade and smoked paprika that sounded divine, even though, she warned me sotto voce, “It’s a McCormick’s recipe.” It slipped my mind until I saw that very same recipe in an ad in this month’s Gourmet magazine, so I gave it a try last night before I could forget about it again.
Gil defrosted the salmon we’d bought on our last Trader Joe’s run and started the marinade before I got home, so all I had to do was assemble the dry rub (though I didn’t use McCormick’s spices), pat down the salmon with it, and set it in the oven to roast for 10 minutes. While that was cooking, I quickly sautÃ©ed some baby spinach in olive oil and garlic, and dinner was on the table in about 20 minutes.
I guess sometimes it pays to venture out of my circumscribed little world. The routine of commuting can be wearying and it’s always easier to conserve energy than to make a connection, but I’m happy that at least in this one instance, it really paid off. The salmon had wonderful depth of flavor. The ingredients didn’t mingle together so much as wash over the tongue in waves; the bright, sunny citrus gave way to sugar and smoky paprika which morphed into a puff of cinnamon before leaving only the flavor of the salmon behind. I’ll keep this recipe handy for quick, healthy dinners.
recipe after the jump
Smoked Paprika-Roasted Salmon with Wilted Spinach adapted very slightly from McCormick Recipes
The only thing I’d change next time is maybe to use a little less cinnamon than the recipe calls for, but it’s really terrific as-is.
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons thyme , divided
2 pounds salmon fillets
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon smoked paprika (I used bittersweet pimentÃ²n)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bag (10 ounces) fresh spinach leaves
1 garlic clove, minced
Mix orange juice, 2 tablespoons of the oil and 1 teaspoon of the thyme in small bowl. Place salmon in glass dish. Add marinade; turn to coat. Cover. Refrigerate 30 minutes or longer for extra flavor.
Preheat oven to 400Â°F. Mix brown sugar, smoked paprika, cinnamon, orange peel, remaining 1 teaspoon thyme and sea salt in small bowl. Remove salmon from marinade. Place in greased foil-lined baking pan. Discard any remaining marinade.
Rub top of salmon evenly with smoked paprika mixture. Roast 10 to 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in large skillet on medium heat and sautÃ© garlic until golden. Add spinach; cook 2 minutes or until wilted. Serve salmon over spinach.