Never would I have conceived of assembling this eclectic group of ingredients, but WOW, it sure made a convert out of me! The rich flavor and firm texture of salmon paired perfectly with sweet peppers made into pipérade, a Basque relish-like stew of peppers, tomatoes, onion and garlic. Piment d’esplette is the authentic seasoning for pipérade, but instead Milk Street used a combination of sweet paprika and cayenne—both of which are probably already in your pantry.
And for smoky, meaty flavor, sauté slices of Spanish chorizo; the rendered fat helps cook the vegetables and the browned chorizo simmers with peppers for a few minutes at the end. For a medium doneness, cook the salmon until the center is translucent. To cook the fish until opaque throughout, simmer the fillets for a few minutes longer, or until the center reaches 125°F to 130°F
A few changes we made included using a single piece of salmon weighing one pound. Plus, the recipe called for only two ounces of Spanish chorizo, but with each link weighing three ounces, we included one entire sausage, which we thought was the perfect amount. The Hubs made the rice with a Spanish twist incorporating olive oil and a few smashed garlic cloves. Our side of asparagus not only lent healthy nutrients, it was a nice pop of color on the plate.
TIP: Don’t forget to place the salmon skin side up in the pan. This way, while the fillets cook gently in the pepper mixture, the skin, which is removed before serving, protects the surface from drying out. Also, don’t allow the pepper mixture to simmer vigorously while the fish is in the skillet. Medium heat should ensure a gentle simmer, but adjust the burner as needed.
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
2 oz. Spanish chorizo, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 medium red or orange bell peppers (or 1 of each), stemmed, quartered lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 tsp. sweet paprika
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
¼ cup dry vermouth or white wine
14½ oz. can diced tomatoes
3 large thyme sprigs
Season the salmon on both sides with salt. In a 12-inch skillet over medium, combine the oil and chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until the oil has taken on a reddish hue and the chorizo begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chorizo to a small plate and set aside.
Set the skillet over medium-high and heat the fat until shimmering. Add the bell peppers, onion, paprika, cayenne and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are wilted and tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the vermouth and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the wine has evaporated, about 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes with juices along with the thyme, then bring to a simmer. Nestle the salmon fillets, skin-side up, in the mixture. Reduce to medium, cover and simmer, until the thickest parts of the fillets reach 115°F to 120°F, 6 to 8 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat. Using tongs, carefully peel off and discard the skin from each fillet. Using a wide metal spatula, transfer the salmon to serving plates, flipping each piece so the skinned side faces down.
Bring the pepper mixture to a simmer over medium-high, add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 2 to 4 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Remove and discard the thyme, then spoon the mixture over and around the salmon and drizzle with additional oil.
For deep flavor and a handsomely browned surface, the practice of pan-searing fish fillets on a hot stove and finishing them in the oven is your best bet. This luscious recipe is very simple and takes very little time to prep and cook.
The idea for the butter mixture is that the heat from the salmon will melt just enough of the butter to sauce it lightly and leave a small amount unmelted so it’s apparent when served at the table. Our side dish of Roasted Fennel with Orange-Honey Dressing was a perfect complement to the salmon.
TIP: A metal fish spatula is a great kitchen tool to have, especially if you often cook fish at home. The thin-gauge, flexible metal head is designed to flip and lift delicate fish fillets without tearing them.
Sear-Roasted Salmon Fillets with Chive-Shallot Butter
2 Tbsp. peanut oil, grapeseed oil, or other neutral tasting oil
1/4 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
1 Tbsp. finely chopped shallots
1/3 cup coarsely chopped chives
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground balck pepper
Position a rack near the center of the oven and preheat to 425° (400° convection). Let the salmon sit at room temperature as the oven heats.
Set a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat and heat for 1-2 minutes. Meanwhile, pat the fish dry and season it liberally on all sides with salt and pepper.
Add the oil to the skillet. When it begins to shimmer, lower in the filets one by one, skin side up. Sear, without disturbing, until one side is nicely browned, lifting with a metal spatula (or fish spatula if you have one) to check that it’s well seared before committing to flipping, 1-2 minutes. Flip the filets and immediately transfer the skillet to the oven.
Roast until the thickest part of the filets are just firm to the touch, 5-7 minutes (or when an instant-read thermometer reads 130-135 for medium-rare). Carefully remove the skillet from the oven and serve the fish right away.
For the Chive-Shallot Butter: Combine the wine or vermouth and shallots in your smallest saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until the liquid is mostly evaporated, about 5 minutes; keep an eye on it so that the shallots don’t scorch. Set aside to cool.
Pound the chives with a 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large mortar to make a coarse paste (or grind in a small food processor).
Place the butter in a mixing bowl and, using a wooden spoon or paddle beater, beat until smooth.
Add the wine-shallot mixture, the pounded chives, and the mustard and lemon juice and stir until everything is incorporated. season with salt and pepper.
If you plan to serve the butter within a few hours, scrape into a small ramekin; other wise cover and refrigerate. Let sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving.
A fish dish that sneaks up on you like a thief. An unlikely menu description, but its a good translation of both the name and flavor of chraimeh, a Sephardic recipe in which fish is braised in oil, garlic and a spicy tomato sauce… so explains Jenn Ladd of Milk Street. That spicy sauce has a way of tricking you.
“The origin of the word chraimeh is the thief, or like a bastard. The spice comes at the end. It kind of surprises you.”
—Einat Admony, Tel Aviv native and New York City restaurateur
Start with easily accessible, affordable salmon fillets. Sliced jalapeño and scallions round out the aromatics, which are lightly browned in hot oil. For more distinct flavor, bloom whole cumin and coriander seeds, with ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika. Add to the mix diced tomatoes and their liquid, then nestle salmon fillets into the piquant sauce.
This weeknight easy dinner tops center-cut salmon fillets with chraimeh (pronounced KHRY-may), a simple and mildly spicy tomato sauce. The salmon cooks between 115°F and 120°F, which leaves the thickest part with some translucency. We like it a bit more well done at 125°F, so after simmering we removed the skillet from the heat and left the fillets in the covered pan until cooked to desired doneness, another 5 minutes or so.
Keep in mind, you don’t want to use fillets of widely varying thicknesses; they will require different cooking times. If unavoidable, begin checking the thinner fillets ahead of the thicker ones. Fresh mint and cilantro, as well as lemon and reserved scallion greens, finish the chraimeh. A drizzle of olive oil also gives it a final hit of richness.
The chraimeh would be equally as wonderful on halibut, bronzino, red snapper or even chicken or pork.
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
4 scallions, thinly sliced, white and light green parts separated from dark green tops
3 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño chili, stemmed, seeded and sliced into thin half-rings
1 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
¾ tsp. smoked paprika
1 14½-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh mint
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, lightly packed
Lemon wedges, to serve
Season the salmon fillets on both sides with salt and pepper. In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the white and light green parts of the scallions, the garlic and jalapeño. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
Stir in the coriander, cumin and paprika, then cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Stir in the tomatoes, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Bring to a simmer, then nestle the fillets, skin side up, in the sauce. Reduce to medium, cover and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the thickest parts reach 115°F to 120°F.
Using tongs, carefully peel off and discard the skin from each fillet, then use a spatula to transfer to serving plates.
If the sauce is watery, continue to simmer over medium-high until slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.
Off heat, stir in the mint and cilantro. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the salmon, sprinkle with the remaining scallion greens, then drizzle with olive oil. Serve with lemon wedges.
The original recipe by Daniel Gritzer from Serious Eats is finished under a broiler. However, we’ve recently been watching an online class from Milk Street highlighting a simple 3-step method which guarantees your fish will be moist, and decided this approach was the way to go.
Heating a skillet over medium-high, then lowering the temperature once the salmon is in the pan ensures a nice sear without the risk of scorching. And finishing the cooking off heat, using just the pan’s residual heat, ensures the fish stays moist and won’t overcook. Just remember not to place the salmon in the skillet with the skin facing down. Make sure the fish goes in flesh side down, and don’t fuss with it once they’re in. Cooking it undisturbed allows the fish to develop flavorful browning.
The topping coats the fish in a thin layer of flavorful mayonnaise seasoned with harissa chili paste and fresh lime, and works with either individual portions of fish or a large party-size fillet. For just the two of us, we cut the recipe in half. If you do not have harrissa, you could substitute either red curry paste or gochujang. Sriracha would give you heat, but your sauce mixture will be thinner because it’s not as dense as the other options.
It’s very likely you will have leftover chili-lime sauce. Don’t fret, it’s great on a crudité platter for dipping veggies, spreading on sandwiches, or as a salad dressing. We used ours a few days later as a topping for grilled hamburgers.
2 tablespoons harissa chili paste, plus more if desired
Finely grated zest of 2 limes plus 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
2 pounds boneless center-cut salmon fillet, with or without skin and either whole or divided into individual portions
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, harissa, lime zest and juice, and coriander seed. Season with salt and pepper; feel free to adjust flavor and heat level by adding more harissa, if desired.
In a nonstick 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Place the salmon flesh side down in the pan, then immediately reduce to medium. Cook, undisturbed, until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes.
Using a wide metal spatula, carefully flip the fillets, and remove from the heat.
Spread the mayonnaise mixture over the fish fillets and immediately cover. Let stand until the thickest part of the fillets reach 120°F or are nearly opaque when cut into, about another 5 minutes for 1-inch-thick fillets or about 8 minutes if 1¼ inches thick.