Like many of you, my new year’s resolutions include eating light and eating less. Combined with a rigorous exercise program, I’m hoping to shed a few pounds that always seen to find their way into my life around holiday time.
I have fallen head over heels in love with fruit salsas since I first tasted them at Little Moir’s Food Shack in Jupiter, Florida. You might remember I prepared the Food Shack’s version of fruit salsa and served it with salmon a while back. Their salsa is sweet, spicy and hot all at the same time and it just bursts in your mouth with flavor. I love fruit salsas so much that I serve them with an endless number of things – fish, shrimp, chicken, pork – you name it. The fruit combinations are endless and you can make the salsas spicy or mild.
When I spotted this recipe for tomatillo red onion salsa served over roasted salmon in Cooking Light’s 5 Ingredients 15 Minutes book, I was drawn right away to the colorful green tomatillos and red onion salsa that was spooned over the pretty pink salmon. The main flavor in the salsa was tomatillos, those little green things with the papery skin that look like tomatoes but are really members of the gooseberry family. They have a tart, subtle apple flavor. I decided to give the salsa a tropical twist by substituting a little pineapple for some of the tomatillos. If you want to make the salsa with just tomatillos, omit the pineapple and use three tomatillos instead of two. This is a beautiful dish, worthy of company.
Don’t leave out the sweet smoked Spanish paprika, also called pimenton de la Vera. It gives the fish a very subtle, smoked flavor. Smoked paprika used to be difficult to find, but I’ve seen it from McCormick in my local supermarket. However, if you can find the Spanish one in the red tin (La Chinta, available from La Tienda and gourmet shops), I think it is superior. Its artisan quality is generally accepted as the best. It’s grown, smoked and milled in the micro-climate of La Vera, not far from where Columbus presented the first plants to Ferdinand and Isabella. How cool is that?
Broiled salmon with tropical pineapple and tomatillo salsa
Adapted from Cooking Light 5 Ingredients 15 Minutes
4 (6 ounce) wild caught salmon filets (about an inch thick)
1 tablespoon grape seed oil, or other neutral oil, such as canola
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1½ teaspoons sweet Spanish smoked paprika (pimenton)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Tropical pineapple and tomatillo sauce (recipe below)
Lemon wedges for garnish
Preheat the oven to broil. Arrange the pieces of fish in one layer, skin side down, on an unheated broiler tray or large sheet pan lined with heavy duty foil for easier clean-up. Smear the fish with the canola and season with cumin, smoked paprika, and salt and pepper. Place the fish under the broiler about six to seven inches from the source of heat. Broil about six minutes or just until the pieces are cooked through. It’s not necessary to turn the fish. If the fish begins to brown too much, turn the oven to 400 degrees F and bake for a few minutes until they achieve your desired doneness. Remember not to overcook it because if you do, it becomes dry. Serve with tropical salsa and a wedge of fresh lemon. Serves 4.
Tropical pineapple and tomatillo salsa
It may sound strange to use salt and pepper on fruit, but don’t omit this step. It helps bring out the flavor of the fruit.
1/3 cup chopped tomatillos (2 medium), see instructions below
1/3 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Remove the papery skin from the tomatillos, wash them well and pat them dry before chopping. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Serve with broiled salmon. Yield 4 servings. This salsa would also be excellent with grilled chicken or pork.