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Fast and Easy Lemon-Crusted Salmon with Garlic Spinach


Chef notes

This easy, fast, healthy and delicious recipe is perfect for a holiday crowd. Buy wild salmon whenever possible and when making the crust, feel free to swap out the breadcrumbs for finely ground almonds or walnuts.

Using a fork-speared clove of garlic to stir the spinach adds subtle garlic flavor, rather than biting into pieces of garlic. Buying spinach can be complicated. On the one hand, you want to buy the tastier, leafier greens for your salad. Unfortunately, those leaves tend to have a tougher texture. Baby spinach always looks so pretty but, to me, the smooth and tender leaves don't have a lot of flavor. What to do? The first step in the right direction is a recipe like this where some light wilting means you can buy the leafier spinach. Even if you buy pre-washed spinach, taste a leaf to make sure that what you bought is actually clean. One bite of grit is one bite too many.

If you have leftovers salmon and spinach, add them to a frittata or make them into a cold salmon salad.  



Lemon-Crusted Salmon
  • One 1½ to 2 pound piece salmon, skin-on, deboned (24 to 32 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs, lightly toasted
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 medium lemons zested
  • 12 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, stems and all
Garlic Spinach
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, lightly smashed
  • 1 pound fresh spinach
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 lemon jucied
  • 1 lemon, cut in wedges for serving


    Make the Lemon-Crusted Salmon:


    Preheat oven to 375F.


    Line a baking sheet with foil. Arrange the salmon, skin side down, on the bottom of the pan. Drizzle with the oil and season evenly with salt.


    In a medium bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, butter, lemon zest, parsley and a generous sprinkle of salt. Mix until it becomes a paste. Spread the crust in an even layer on top of the fish.


    Place the tray in the center of the oven and bake undisturbed for 12 to 15 minutes. For well-done fish, leave the fish in the oven for an additional 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven.

    Make the Garlic Spinach:


    In the meantime, heat a 12-inch skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. "Spear" the garlic clove on the tines of a fork. When the oil smokes lightly, add the spinach, salt and red pepper flakes, then remove the pan from heat. Stir with the garlic-speared fork until the spinach loses half its volume, about 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice and stir once more.


    To serve the dish, using two large spatulas, arrange the salmon on a platter, then add the spinach from the pan. Serve immediately with lemon wedges on the side.