Coho Salmon Dinner
Local Ocean’s Classic
COHO SALMON DINNER
TIME: 30 minutes
SERVING SIZE: 5 oz. coho salmon per person
IN THE BOX
Coho Salmon Fillet
Tomato Saffron Sauce
Green Onion & Parsley Garnish
FROM YOUR PANTRY
Salt + Pepper to season
~6 tbsp olive oil for cooking
¼ cup red wine (optional)
1. Fill up a pasta pot (at least 4 qt for 2 portions, 6 qt for 4 portions) with water, cover, and heat to a boil.
2. While water is heating, season salmon vigorously with salt and pepper on both sides and leave out at room temperature, covered.
3. When the water comes to a boil, add 2 tbsp salt plus 1 tbsp olive oil to season. Wait for water to return to boil, then add pasta, stirring gently to separate the noodles. Cover and boil until pasta is al dente (softened but still has a little bite in the middle – al dente means “to the tooth” in Italian), about 10-12 minutes. Drain the water out, reserving a small amount of the pasta water on the side (about a quarter cup). You’ll use the liquid for the sauce. Run cold water over your pasta until chilled, then drain and toss with a little olive oil so it doesn’t stick together. This step can be done up to a day ahead of time if you’d like to cut down preparation time later (just reserve your cooked pasta and pasta water in the fridge, separate and covered).
4. Cook the salmon: you can grill or pan-sear. At the restaurant, we grill it.
- To Grill: Heat your grill or grill pan until it is 450-500 degrees. You want it very hot, so you get a good sear without overcooking your salmon – the grill marks are great flavor! Drizzle your salmon with a little olive oil on both sides. Add salmon to the grill, making sure to place portions at a 45-degree angle to the grill slats so you get nice marking (you want to see a diamond crosshatch pattern on the salmon when you’re done). Cook for 2 minutes, then rotate each piece 90 degrees and cook another 1-2 minutes. Flip and repeat for the other side, being careful not to overcook (see temperature instructions below).
- To Pan-Sear: Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat with 2 tbsp olive oil (3 tbsp for 4 portions). You may need more oil if your pan is not seasoned fully and/or you are not using a nonstick pan. When the oil is shimmering but not smoking, add the salmon portions, being careful to avoid sticking to the pan. Shake the pan gently as you add each portion to make sure it has enough oil between it and the pan – this will ensure a proper sear without sticking. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip, gently shaking the pan again as you place the raw side down into the oil. You can add a splash more oil at this point if the pan needs it. If your salmon is not browning after 2 minutes, turn your pan heat up a little – color is flavor!
- Temperature: At the restaurant, we serve salmon medium*. To serve medium, pull salmon off the heat when it is around 120°F in the center – it will continue to cook. Let rest at room temperature. To cook further, lower your heat after searing or move it to a cooler part of the grill for a few minutes.
5.Heat your poblano pepper & blue cheese: on a cool part of grill or after searing pan has slightly cooled off the heat, place poblano peppers down with blue cheese crumbles on top. Your goal is to melt the blue cheese a little and to warm the pepper – use a lid if necessary. You’ll want one pepper topped with blue cheese per portion. If your grill/pan is too hot, you can begin step 6 while you wait for it to cool a little.
6. Cooking the vegetables (if you are good at multi-tasking, you can do this while your salmon cooks): heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking (4 tbsp for 4 portions). Add the vegetables to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the herb paste to the pan and toss, cooking for another 2 minutes.
7. Making the sauce: deglaze your hot vegetable pan with ¼ cup red wine, or the pasta water you saved earlier. Let it continue to cook over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the tomato saffron sauce to the pan and cook for another 1-2 minutes until it thickens slightly. Add your cooked pasta to the pan and toss or stir to mix everything together. If your resting salmon has left any juices, add them to the pan to incorporate as well. Taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper as desired.
8. Assemble: divide your vegetable & pasta mixture onto plates, mounding in the center. Transfer your warmed poblano peppers & blue cheese and place on top of each. Finish with a salmon portion, garnishing with green onions and parsley. Drizzle with any leftover sauce in the pan.
ABOUT THIS RECIPE
When Chef Enrique first proposed this salmon dish almost 15 years ago, I have to admit I was a little skeptical. The combination of flavors sounded so exotic to me; I couldn’t imagine what they would taste like together. Then I tasted it and WOW! I love that the flavors enhance the fish and don’t overwhelm it. Making this dish requires a little bit of time and attention - but the result is so worth it.
Updated December 3rd, 2020