Monday, March 4, 2013

Chile Rubbed Salmon with Tomatillo, Jalapeno Pepper and Lime Juice

As I continued preparing a wonderful Valentine's dinner for my beautiful Angel, Clare, I had to think of a main course.  Clare loves salmon and, due to her pregnancy, she has not been able to eat as much of it as she would like.  All of the pregnancy guidelines say that it is important to eat certain fish.  Salmon is one of those fish, provided that it is wild salmon rather than farmed salmon.  There are many issues with respect to farmed salmon, which are better left for another post.  Fortunately, I have a lot of access to wild sockeye salmon.  So, I purchased two six ounce fillets and began to work on the recipe.

I had planned on following the same approach to planning this course that I used when I made my Roasted Root Vegetable Soup.  I planned on choosing ingredients that would complement each other, as determined by The Flavor Bible.  However, as I perused the section on Salmon, I came across a dish prepared by Zarela Martinez for her restaurant.  The dish was "Salmon Rubbed with Ground Red Chile and Lime and Pan Seared.  Served with a Tangy, Spicy, Tomatillo, Jalapeno and Lime Juice Sauce.  The dish caught my attention, and, I decided to make it.  The only problem is that I did not have a recipe.

So this recipe is my first effort to create Martinez's dish.  I made estimates of the amount of each ingredients for the salmon and the sauce.  For the salmon, I used ground Hatch chiles for the rub, but ground ancho chile and even cayenne pepper could be used.  For the sauce, I used a couple tomatillos with some onion, shallot and garlic to help add flavors and body to the sauce.  I did not add any more spices or herbs (other than salt and pepper) to keep the sauce rather simple. Finally, I decided to pair this dish with some saffron rice, which is just ordinary rice with a pinch of saffron added during the boiling stage.  

Overall, I think this dish worked out very well.  The sauce may need a little more work, especially with respect to consistency.  (The consistency of sauces continues to be an area that I need to develop.)  The flavor was there and it worked very well with the not only the salmon, but also the rice. 

A Chef Bolek Original
Serves 2
2 six-ounce sockeye salmon fillets
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or canola oil
3 tomatillos, de-husked, and diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
2 cups of rice, made according to instructions
2 limes, juiced
1 pinch of saffron
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
Cilantro, chopped

1.  Prepare the rice.  Prepare the rice according to the the instructions.  Before you begin to boil the water, add a pinch of saffron to the water.  Then continue as directed by the instructions.  

2. Prepare the sauce.  Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet.  Add the onions and saute until soft, about four to five minutes.  Add the shallot, garlic and oregano, saute for two minutes more.  Add the jalapeno pepper and saute for about three more minutes.   Season with a couple grinds of salt and pepper.  Add the tomatillos and continue to saute for about five to eight minutes, until the tomatillos begin to soften.   Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the ingredients to a blender.  Blend the ingredients until they are a liquid.  Tranfer the ingredients to a pot, season again with salt and pepper.  Cover and set aside. 

3.  Saute the salmon.  Heat the remaining oil in a pan.  Saute the salmon, skin side up, for about four minutes.  Flip the salmon and saute for about four minutes more or until done.  


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