Chinese Five-Spice Salmon
David Spitzer, Executive Chef, Fiesta Resort & Spa, Saipan

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Sometimes in life we want to experience everything rolled into one. In the creation of five-spice powder, the Chinese gave us that chance. With fennel, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, and Sichuan peppercorns, we get to taste sour, bitter, sweet, pungent, and salty all at once. If you've never tried five-spice powder before, you might want to halve the amount, or your taste buds might just blow a fuse.

1 1/2 tsps finely grated lime peel
3 Tbs fresh lime juice
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
4 tsps finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1/2 tsp sugar substitute
1 lb salmon steaks, cut into 4 equal-size pieces
8 cups fresh baby spinach leaves (substitute tatsoi or baby bok choy)
2 cloves garlic, pressed

In a 2-quart dish, combine the lime peel, lime juice, 1 tablespoon of the oil, the ginger, five-spice powder, and sugar substitute. Add the salmon and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In a 3-quart microwavable dish, combine the spinach, garlic, and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, tossing gently. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 2 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted. Drain and keep warm.

Lightly oil a grill rack. Preheat the grill to medium-high.

Remove the salmon from the marinade and place on the grill rack. Brush the salmon with additional marinade. Close the grill cover, cook for approximately 4 minutes, turn the salmon, and brush with marinade. Close the cover and cook for 4 minutes longer or until the salmon flakes easily. Discard remaining marinade.

To serve, evenly divide the spinach among 4 serving plates and center the salmon on the spinach beds.

Yield: 4 servings