My colleague goes on an annual fishing trip to Alaska, typically in the early Summer months. He comes back with an abundance of great fish, and often brings them in to work and tells us to grab what we want. Salmon and halibut are typically available for the taking. There is something about fresh fish that is unlike anything you would typically buy at the market. Maybe it is the simple idea that he caught them, reeled them in, and had them packaged all in a days work. Who knows.
So as I was looking at this large piece of salmon, I thought that as much as I love cooking salmon, I wanted to make something with it. Something that would bring the simple flavor of salmon up to the next level. I immediately thought of a salsa, and the freshness alone of the salsa would bring a nice punch of additional flavor, and was I ever right.
The funny thing is that while creating the salsa, I knew right away that if my wife found out there were olives in it, that she probably would not try it. My wife, as lovely as she is, and as daring as she is when trying new foods, simply does not like olives. I, on the other hand, love olives, any type, and whether they are stuffed, or floating in a cocktail, I love them.
This simple salsa, granted I cooked everything on a medium-high heat in a dry cast iron skillet, really made a killer salsa, and one that married well with baked salmon.
Ingredients for the Olive Salsa:
- 2 roma tomatoes, halved
- 3 tomatillos, husked and halved
- 4 cloves of garlic, lightly smashed
- 2 serrano chili peppers, stems removed (remove seeds if you cannot handle the heat)
- 1 onion, halved
- 12 large green olives, pitted
- small handful of cilantro, rough chop
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 1 tsp sugar
- splash of white vinegar
Begin by getting your large cast iron skillet on a medium to high heat. Add the tomatoes, tomatillos, onion, garlic, and serrano peppers. Cook until you get a nice char on all of the items. Once charred, remove from the heat and toss them into a blender, or food processor.
Toss in the cilantro, lime juice, salt, sugar, vinegar, and olives. Blend until you have a nice puree of all of the ingredients. Taste, and salt accordingly.
Ingredients for the Baked Salmon:
- 3 Salmon filets, skin on, bones removed, cleaned and patted dry
- 3 tbsp of unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 lemon, zested, and juiced
- 1 tsp dried basil leaves
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Add the salt, pepper, basil, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the butter. Brush the butter mixture on both sides of the fillets, and add them to the preheated oven on a greased baking sheet, skin side down. Cook for 13-16 minutes, or until the fillet is nice and flaky. Serve with the olive salsa (recipe above).
You now have a rocking salsa that can be used much like any other salsa, but trust me, it goes great with baked fish. Enjoy.