What can I do with salmon that I haven't already done? That's a question that's sometimes hard to answer. After a long day at work, it's easy to fall back on something familiar and simple. I promise myself I'll do something more interesting next time.
Here's that "next time," a salmon recipe I adapted from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, a wonderful work I talked about last year when I made its recipes for Beef and Lamb Meatballs Baked in Tahini and Fennel, Corn and Cherry Tomato Gratin.
The salsa is what makes this recipe great. A lot of fish salsas are made with raw ingredients, including fruit (especially mangoes). Here, the salsa is made from roasted red pepper and hazelnuts, a delicious combination that's perfect for salmon. The original recipe calls for pan-grilling the fish, which isn't a good option for my kitchen, since I don't have sufficient ventilation to deal with the smoke. So instead, I roasted the fish, which works great.
Roasted Salmon with Red Pepper-Hazelnut Salsa
Salsa adapted from Organic Salmon with Red Pepper and Hazelnut Salsa from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
2 red bell pepper
2 tbsp. hazelnuts (note: although you only need 2 tbsp. for the salsa, I recommend roasting at least twice this much, so that you can get 1 tbsp. of nuts without any skin, since I find the skin difficult to get off about half the nuts I roast.)
Olive oil spray
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. minced fresh chives
1 garlic clove, minced
Zest and juice from 1lemon (Tip: remove the zest with a microplane first, then cut the lemon in half before juicing it.)
1 1/2 lb. salmon fillet, skin removed
Olive oil spray
4 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1.Preheat oven to 400 F. Quarter the peppers (i.e., slice them into large flat strips) and discard the seeds and inner membranes. Spray both sides of the pepper strips with olive oil and set on a baking sheet (line with aluminum foil for easy clean-up). Roast for 20 minutes until the peppers are softened and lightly charred. Transfer peppers to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
2. Spread the hazelnuts on another baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes (they can roast at the same time as the peppers, but remember they cook in half the time). Allow the nuts to cool a bit, then transfer to a clean kitchen towel. Fold the towel over the nuts and rub vigorous to remove the skins from the hazelnuts. Pick off any stray skin pieces with your fingers (note: this is why I recommend roasting twice as many nuts as needed for the recipe--save the rest for later, such as a snack or add to a salad). Chop the nuts coarsely and add to a small bowl.
3. After the peppers have cooled a bit (about 10 minutes), transfer them to a cutting board. With your fingers, remove and discard the peel (it might not all come off, which is fine). Chop the pepper into a fine dice and transfer to the small bowl with the nuts.
4. To the bowl with the chopped peppers and nuts, add olive oil, chives, garlic, lemon zest and juice, vinegar, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
5. Increase oven temperature to 425 F.
6. Spray the salmon fillet with olive oil and place on an aluminum-foil-lined baking sheet. Roast in the oven for at least 12 minutes up to about 18 minutes depending on how cooked through you like the salmon (I like mine more cooked--remove the salmon at the 12-minute mark and check it for doneness by splitting it apart a a little with a knife). When done, remove the salmon from the oven, cut in half. Serve on plates topped with a scoop of the salsa and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
Cooking with Ottolenghi