Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Cooking Floyd: Nectarine Salsa and Sweet Chili Glazed Salmon

The nectarines are amazingly good this year!  Sweet, silky, juice running down your chin good!  We've been greedily slurping them down one after another but I paused recently to note how tasty they would be as a salsa.  With salmon.  On a bed of greens.  Mmmmmm....

Nectarine Salsa
5-6 perfectly ripe nectarines cut into 1/2" chunks, skin off or on (I left it on)
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 each sweet red, orange, and yellow pepper cut in small dice, or all of one color or any combo thereof
1 mild - medium spicy red chili pepper cut in small dice OR 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4-1/3 cup minced cilantro
Wee pinch of salt to taste

Gently toss together the nectarines, lime juice, and brown sugar.  The lime juice will prevent the nectarines from browning and the brown sugar will balance the acidity.

Add the peppers.  If using the cayenne start with a small amount and gradually increase to your desired level of heat.  Keep it on the milder side if using the salsa with the salmon since the sweet chili glaze will add a bit of heat as well.

Gently stir in the cilantro and salt to taste.  Use only a wee bit of salt to accentuate the nectarine flavor.  Allow a little down time in the fridge for the flavors to meld.

Sweet Chili Glazed Salmon
3 tablespoons neutral flavored high smoke point oil (peanut, grapeseed, canola)
1 lb skin on salmon filet
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce (your preferred brand or home made)

Preheat the oven to 400F

Using a heavy oven proof skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat until the oil shimmers.

Pat the salmon dry with paper towels.  Lightly salt and pepper both sides of the salmon, gently pressing the seasoning into the flesh.

Lay the salmon, skin side down, in the hot skillet.  Reduce the heat to medium.  Allow the fillet to pan sear without moving it while keeping an eye on the thickest end of the fillet.  You want the fillet to change color from the bottom to about half way up.  When that point is reached (about 8 minutes), the skin on the bottom should have released from the pan and be a hard, crispy (yummy) brown.

Remove the fillet from the skillet and pour off any excess oil.  Return the fillet, skin side down, to the skillet and brush generously with the sweet chili sauce.

Place the skillet in the oven and bake until the fillet has turned opaque (about 6 minutes).  This should give you about a medium finish in the center of the fish.

While the fish is baking, place a generous layer of mixed greens on two plates and top with a sprinkling of fine diced salad veg of your choice.  When the fillet is ready, slice it in half longways down the middle into two equal portions.  Place a half on each plate of salad and top with the nectarine salsa, drizzling some of the juice from the bowl on the fish as well.

Congratulate yourself on how pretty the plate looks and dig in!

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