Monday, October 6, 2014

Guava & Pistachio Glazed Salmon with Orange Fennel Salad

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Someone mentioned guavas and pistachios in the same sentence the other day and I thought, "Aha! I have got to make something with those two things together!" Luckily, I had brought back a couple packages of guava paste from Florida this summer, so I got to work right away.

Guys this was a seriously yummy, refreshing, rich, and yet healthy tropical meal! And took less than thirty minutes to put together.

Start by cutting two-inch portions from a salmon fillet, and season both sides with salt and pepper. Place a large skillet on medium-high heat and add a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil to the hot pan. When the oil forms "legs" when you tilt the pan, it's hot enough sear the salmon without sticking.

Add the salmon, top side down. Don't try to flip it until it moves easily when gently nudged, otherwise you'll tear the fish apart. (By the way, you should totally get one of these awesome fish spatulas.) Sear the second side briefly. I used skin-on salmon, but if you don't have a roasting rack to cook it on in the oven, I'd recommend using skinless, as the room for air circulation is what makes the skin crispy instead of soggy. And soggy fish skin is just yuck.

Remove the salmon from the pan and put it on a well greased roasting rack on a sheet pan. Now it's time to make the glaze. Soften a quarter cup of guava paste (if you can't find it locally, look it up on Amazon--I recommend Iberia or Conchita) in the microwave and mix in a tablespoon of fresh orange juice, a dash of cayenne pepper and a dash of sea salt, and a quarter cup of roughly chopped toasted, salted pistachios.

Smear half of the guava/pistachio mixture on each piece of salmon. Transfer the salmon to a 350° oven, and cook to an internal temperature of 125°. I know, I know, that sounds low, but it's perfectly safe, and if you've always had "fully cooked" salmon, this will change your life. No more dry, dense fish for you, my friend!

While the salmon is cooking, mix together a large handful each of mixed greens and baby kale. Add some fresh shaved fennel root and orange segments. To cut perfect skinless, membraneless orange segments, first trim the ends off an orange. Then, using a sharp knife, follow the contour of the orange to remove the peel and pith without cutting too much into the fruit. Then make a cut on either side of each segment, on the inside of the membranes.

Squeeze the juice out of the remaining orange scrap into the salad, then toss in coconut oil, salt, and pepper. You'll need a fairly generous amount of salt to cut the richness of the coconut oil. Make sure the greens are at room temperature so that the coconut oil doesn't solidify when it comes in contact cold--learn from my mistake, it was kinda ick, but fortunately a few seconds in the microwave melted it again without wilting the greens.

To serve, make a pile of the of salad in the middle of a dinner plate and place the salmon on top.

Buon Appetito!

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