Pan-fried salmon with spinach, watercress and Saint Agur blue cheese sauce

The simplicity of this dish makes it a perfect option to cook at home when you are short on time. The crisp skin provides a beautiful texture, while the soft flesh of the fish provides a wonderful contrast. The jus comes from the cooking juices of the greens, finished with a little Saint Agur blue cheese and a touch of cream to balance the sauce.

Recipe © Raymond Blanc / Photograph © Chris Terry

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • FOR THE SALMON:
  • 4 salmon fillets, organically farmed, skin on (120g each)
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper, freshly ground
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • 40ml water
  • 1 wedge lemon
  • FOR THE SPINACH, WATERCRESS AND SAINT AGUR SAUCE:
  • ½ small banana shallot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 10g unsalted butter
  • 100g watercress, large stalks removed, washed, drained and roughly chopped
  • 200g baby spinach, washed, drained and roughly chopped
  • 30ml whipping cream
  • 80g Saint Agur blue cheese
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 2 pinches black pepper, freshly ground

Method

  1. FOR THE SALMON: Pat the salmon fillets dry with kitchen paper. Season the flesh side lightly with salt and pepper. In a large non-stick frying pan, on a medium heat, heat the butter until it is foaming and add the salmon fillets to the pan, skin side down. Very fresh fish will arc upwards at this point, so using a spatula or a flat utensil, press the fillets down for a few seconds so they keep contact with the pan and stay flat against it. Cook the salmon fillets for 7-8 minutes depending on their thickness, until the skin is crisp (*1). Turn the fillets over onto the flesh side and cook for a further 1 minute. Remove the salmon fillets from the pan and leave to rest for 1 minute on a warm plate. Add the water and a squeeze of lemon juice to deglaze the pan and reserve these cooking juices while you prepare the spinach and watercress next.
  2. FOR THE SPINACH, WATERCRESS AND SAINT AGUR SAUCE: In a large saucepan, on a medium heat, sweat and sweeten the shallots in the butter for 3-4 minutes without colouring. Add the watercress, spinach, whipping cream, Saint Agur blue cheese, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on full heat for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  3. TO SERVE: Spoon a mound of the spinach, watercress and Saint Agur sauce into the centre of each plate. Place a fillet of pan-fried salmon on top, then spoon the reserved cooking juices over the salmon and serve.
  4. RAYMOND'S NOTE (*): (*1) You should hear just a gentle sizzle at this point and see the browning and crisping of the salmon skin. But be careful - Too high a heat will burn the skin, overcook the salmon and burn the butter so it becomes bitter.
  5. VARIATIONS: Blanched parsley, spring greens or sorrel would also be good alternatives to the spinach and watercress.