Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Chile Roasted Salmon

I'll admit it, I've become a spoiled brat when it comes to salmon.  And it's all Peef's fault.

For years, he made regular trips out to Seattle in the late spring to meet with one of his major sales accounts. And every time he visited, he'd bring me something delicious from the market.  Sometimes he'd bring me a bag of freshly roasted coffee. More often he'd bring me fragrant spice blends from World Spice Merchants. And in the late spring, he'd bring me my absolute favorite thing:  fresh Copper River Salmon.

The first time he brought salmon home, he surprised me.  He'd purchased a whole Alaskan Sockeye from the market, had it packed in dry ice, and smuggled it onto the plane in lieu of his usual carry-on.  At the time, I wasn't yet the salmon devotee that I am today.  But, I knew from my first glance at that fish, that there was no turning back.

In the days following his return flight, we ate as much salmon as we could -- relishing the filets grilled, roasted, and pan-fried (encased with thin slices of potato and served alongside wasabi mashed potatoes).  When we'd had our fill of the freshest fish I'd ever eaten in my life, I researched the best ways to package the remainders for freezing.   Once the portioned filets were neatly packed away in our chest freezer,  I constructed the best salmon "burgers" EVER from the leftover bits and pieces.

I thought there couldn't be anything better than fresh sockeye salmon.  Until he brought me an Alaskan Copper River the next year...  and, well, you get how the obsession started.

Unfortunately, Peef has moved on from the job that required his quarterly trips to Seattle. It's been at least two years since I've tasted salmon half as fresh, though the memory of that clean flavor still haunts me.

These days, you'd be hard-pressed to find me buying salmon from the local supermarket (or even the more upscale meat/fish counters), though I do make exception for wild salmon in the off-season that has been painstakingly frozen and stored -- fish that retains at least some apparition of its former glory.

Which brings me to the dish I'm about to present to you.  It's fabulously easy. And deliciously picante. And it's the perfect solution for a rainy spring evening when you can't get outside to enjoy the deliciously smoky flavor that only the grill can impart.

The topping for the fish is simple -- chipotle peppers, salt, garlic, sugar, lime, Mexican oregano, and a bit of olive oil.  Spread it on top of the filets of salmon and bake for 10-15 minutes.

What you end up with is a filet of tender, flaky salmon topped with a hot, sweet, smoky glaze.  The perfect accompaniment for that Cuban sidecar you've been craving.


Chile Roasted Salmon


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14 comments:

  1. May Bill Delind and I suggest that the next time you have CRSalmon, you go the minimal route? Spread the non-skin side with grainy mustard and then poach it, skin-side down, in cider. Smoky glaze is good with an assertive taste and I'm thrilled to have your recipe, but when you want the assertive taste to blaze through, this is a wonderful minimalist preparation.

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  2. MMMmmm, that sauce is right up my alley! And Cuban sidecars? Si, por favor! I made a Border Grill salmon that was similar in preparation if not in ingredients: just huge and equal parts cilantro and parsley... but I am so jealous of your salmon freshness experiences. A friend of mine worked on a salmon fishing run one year in Alaska, and I was regaled with salmon stories. Foodie FieldTrip, anyone?

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  3. What an interesting (and hearty) way to cook salmon. I would never have thought of this.

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  4. How lucky to be the recipient of fresh Seattle fish - I can imagine how much you miss it. Oh how I love Salmon, too. And I'm always on the look out for new/simple recipes. That topping looks and sounds absolutely fantastic. Y.U.M. I will definitely try this.

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  5. I think I've only had really good salmon once or twice in my life and only at really good restaurants. I can't imagine someone bringing me home a whole fresh fish! Nothing would ever satisfy after that. This recipe looks delicious. I love the picante factor.

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  6. Yum, that is a beautiful looking salmon dish. We've been lucky to find a local fisherman who goes to Alaska & brings back the freshest salmon that he's caught & frozen right away, so good!

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  7. I love good salmon any old way! Growing up in Seattle I was spoiled with easy access...it is definitely my favorite fish.
    Your recipe looks wonderful: a spicy, smokey, caramelized glaze. Yum!
    -E

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  8. I see that you’re interested and fascinated in food stuffs. This is awesome Chili Roasted Salmon. You see, we have this food site Foodista.com (http://www.foodista.com) that is a food and cooking encyclopedia that everyone and anyone can edit. Maybe you are interested in sharing some of recipes to us or share your knowledge about food stuffs and techniques, or maybe you just like to write reviews about food, restaurant and recipes...why don't you visit us sometimes, if its food you're interested in, then we are interested in you. Don't hesitate to check us out.

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  9. I have always loved salmon. I prefer it than those chicken and pork. Thanks for a nice recipe.

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  10. It looks absolutely delicious! I agree, there is nothing better than amazing fresh salmon. I got spoiled living in Norway,and now the only times I eat it is smoked and in sushi...

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  11. Seattle and salmon go together like fish and chips. I remember seeing the sockeyes jumping up the river, big, beautiful, majestic creatures, powerful and sleek.

    This is a great way of cooking salmon. It's definitely robust enough to stand up to that kind of seasoning. There's some real fire in that there marinade

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  12. oooh yummy! Always looking for new ways to cook up the Lake Michigan local salmon that the hubs brings home!

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  13. So glad we moved to Seattle! I'll have some salmon in your honor.

    Your glaze looks amazing, guys. Gorgeous!

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  14. That Peef is a good man! The only thing that Mike brings me from his trips is the occasional airplane book. Sadly, I have never had salmon that fresh before and not sure if I ever will. So....okay, I'm off to go sulk and whimper somewhere for a while, until somebody offers to fly to Seattle and buy ME some fresh fish.

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