Another way to cook salmon

 07 May 2017 - 16:54

Another way to cook salmon
Roasted Tomatillo Salmon. (Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

By Bonnie S Benwick / The Washington Post

I knew that roasting tomatillos concentrates their flavour and softens their skins, but I didn't realize that small ones are sweeter than larger ones and that the green fruit pairs so nicely with salmon.

My newfound knowledge comes courtesy of Marcela Valladolid's new cookbook, "Casa Marcela." (FYI: Washington chefs José Andrés and Pati Jinich both provided blurbs for the book.) Valladolid's face, which appears a celebrity-worthy number of times among recipe pages, will be familiar to viewers of "The Kitchen" on Food Network, where she is one of the co-hosts who always seem to be talking over one another at elevated volumes.

The Tijuana-born chef reminds us, too, that slightly undercooked salmon is what we're after. To help you achieve that goal, start with a simply seasoned two-pound, center-cut piece and allow it to spend no more than 20 minutes in a 375-degree oven. It's a nice match with a bit of citrus, those slices of tomatillo and charred edges of red onion. You'll see.

Roasted Tomatillo Salmon

4 servings, Healthy

Serve with white rice, or with roasted smashed fingerling potatoes.

Adapted from "Casa Marcela: Recipes and Stories From My Life in the Californias," by Marcela Valladolid (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017).


1 1/2 pounds small tomatillos

1 large red onion

1 lemon

6 chive stems

2 stems cilantro

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

One 2-pound piece Atlantic salmon fillet (skin on), about 1 inch thick at the center


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Discard the tomatillo husks. Rinse the fruit to get rid of sticky residue, then cut them into 1/2 inch thick rounds - trimming any stems as you go - and place them in a mixing bowl as you work. Cut the red onion into very thin slices (to yield about 2 cups), then add to the mixing bowl.

Cut the lemon into 6 equal slices, discarding any seeds. Chop the chive and cilantro leaves and tender stems.

Add the oil to the mixing bowl, then season with a good pinch each of the salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly and incorporate. Spread the mixture on the parchment-lined baking sheet.

Lay the salmon over the tomatillo mixture, then season the fillet lightly with salt and pepper. Lay the lemon slices on the salmon, then scatter the chives and cilantro evenly over the top. Roast (middle rack) for 20 minutes, or until the interior temperature of the salmon registers 120 to 125 degrees.

Carefully transfer the salmon to a platter, discarding any skin that remains on the baking sheet. Increase the oven to 475 degrees and return the baking sheet with the tomatillo mixture to the oven. Roast for 10 minutes, or until the onions and tomatillos begin to crisp around the edges.

Serve the tomatillos and red onion slices alongside the salmon, warm.

Nutrition | Per serving: 450 calories, 47 g protein, 13 g carbohydrates, 23 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 125 mg cholesterol, 170 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fiber, 8 g sugar

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