Saturday, September 1, 2007

Grilled Salmon Vera Cruz

Rick Bayless is one of our favorite chefs, and conincidentally a Chicago restaurant owner (our three regular blog readers and commenters are all IL natives). He cooks classic and updated Mexican cuisine, but not what you think of Mexican. His dishes are frequently light, quick, and flavor packed. Tonight, we made this grilled Salmon which lived up to our expectations of his recipes. We served with a side of grilled quash. I only used 2 salmon steaks tonight, and plan use leftover sauce over grilled chicken tomorrow. For you vegetarians, this sauce would be nice over a mixture of grilled summer veggies and a bed of white rice.


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the grill and the salmon
1 medium-sized onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
7 cups diced (1/2 inch) ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus a few sprigs for garnish
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 cup pitted, roughly sliced green olives (preferably manzanillo olives)
1/4 cup capers, drained and rinsed
3 pickled jalapeƱo peppers, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
Salt, to taste
6 salmon steaks (7 to 8 ounces each), about 1 inch thick


1. Prepare the sauce: Place oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the tomatoes, chopped thyme, lemon zest, and half of the olives, capers, and peppers. Simmer briskly, stirring, for about 5 minutes to evaporate some of the liquid. Reduce the heat to medium-low, stir in 1 cup water and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt. Cool.

2. Preheat a gas grill to medium-high or light a charcoal fire and let it burn just until the coals are covered with gray ash and very hot. Reduce the heat on one side of the gas grill to medium-low or set up the charcoal grill for indirect cooking by banking all of the coals to one side, leaving the other half of the grill empty. Set the cooking grate in place, cover the grill and let the grate heat for 5 minutes.

3. Oil the grill and both sides of each salmon steak; sprinkle fish with salt. Cook the salmon over the hottest part of the grill for about 4 minutes, until nicely browned underneath. Carefully flip over the fish onto the cooler side of the grill; cook 2 to 4 minutes more for medium-rare.

4. Spoon the sauce into a deep platter and nestle the fish in it. Let stand at room temperature for about an hour to bring together the flavors of the fish and the sauce.

5. To serve, sprinkle the fish with remaining olives, capers, and peppers; garnish with the thyme sprigs. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 460 calories, 15g carbohydrates, 42g protein, 25g fat, 110mg cholesterol.
Nutritional Breakdown: New Wellness, Richmond, Va


Aaron said...

That looks like puke on a plate.

I like salmon but that looks like a lot of prep and cook time that I don't have. Maybe I can train my kid to cook for me when he gets older.

BAM said...

Well, it tastes waaaay better than puke, at least when puke is on its way out.

We also tried the left-over sauce with grilled chicken and I liked it even better.

Either way, I laughed so hard when I read your post Aaron that I almost puked.

Aaron said...

I love salmon so I'd probably like it. The presentation leaves something to be desired though.

BAM said...

I guess it was one of those "doesn't photograph well ones."

Natalie said...

Unfortunately, I think the dish is a victim of our horrible kitchen fluorescent light. It wasn't nearly that yellow in person.

Aaron said...

Whenever I cook or bake my stuff never looks like the picture in the cookbook. I have made many dishes that look like puke on a plate, or a bowl and on one notable occasion, a breadpan.

Nate M. said...

Personally, I think it looks great, and I don't even eat salmon.