Tuesday Night Quckie

Or: No, not that kind of quickie…

This was the right amount of rich, creamy, fresh, and garlicky

Food Stuff:
Cooked Salmon (whatever you like — leftovers are good, or you can make this easy recipe here)
Chopped Garlic
Fresh Spinach, chopped
Fresh Tomatoes, chopped
Onion, chopped fine (if you like)
White Wine
Cream Cheese
Gnocchi (Dollar Tree has great gnocchi. Really.)

Tools needed:
Sharp Knife

Make It:
If you haven’t cooked the salmon, do that first, and keep the oven on warm once cooked. If you’re reheating salmon, portion it out for yourself and reheat at 325 while everything else is being made.
In the skillet, melt the butter and then toss in the garlic (and optional onion). Fill the pot about half full of water and put on medium heat. When the garlic is fragrant, add the spinach and stir, letting the spinach cook a bit (2-3 minutes). Add the tomatoes, stir, let cook another 2-3 minutes. Add the wine (just a few splashes is good, maybe about 1/8 cup) and mix with the rest, scraping the skillet as you do, and let simmer.
By now the water for the gnocchi should be boiling. Add a generous amount of salt, then the gnocchi. Bring back to a boil and then drain, reserving a couple splashes of the cooking water (about 3 minutes).
Add the cream cheese, about 2oz for a single serving, to the sauce and stir to combine. Add the cooking water and gnocchi and, again, stir to combine.
Pour the gnocchi and sauce into a bowl, using a spatula. Top with salmon. Serve with salad and/or crusty bread and butter.

This was leftover from last night, like my previous salmon recipe, but with more garlic
This was leftover from last night, like my previous salmon recipe, but with more garlic

Things I Learned:

  • When you have quality, rich cream cheese (I’m not talking Philly, and I love my Philly), you don’t need much to make a delectable sauce.
  • I’m sure you could make this using frozen, cooked spinach and/or canned tomatoes, but it probably won’t be as tasty. The freshness really adds to the sauce.
  • You don’t need a lot of wine or cream cheese when you use the cooking water and don’t drain/seed your tomatoes.

The Story:

Basically, I wanted a delicious, decadent dinner without a lot of effort. I thought about salmon mac & cheese, but wanted it to be a bit more interesting. I found this recipe for gnocchi and salmon and with a bit of simplifying, it was pretty much perfect. The key to this one is the process of adding the ingredients in order, good gnocchi, and really good cream cheese. I use this Sierra Nevada organic cream cheese. Totally not a paid endorsement, but I found this stuff at my local grocery store, tried it on a whim, and it’s changed my life. You may notice I didn’t use measurements much, even my typical approximations, because I basically whipped this together by sight and smell. Same goes for pictures. I intended to take picture through the process, but it all came together really fast. Chopping the spinach as the garlic cooked, chopping tomatoes as the spinach cooked, taking care of the gnocchi while the sauce simmered — there just wasn’t a ton of time for pausing to snap progressions.
Sometimes in cooking, just like in life, you take what you know and wing it from there. In this instance, it worked out very well.

When in doubt, wine covers all manner of cooking sins

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