Recipe: Seared Salmon Piperade Saltado
Contributor Lisa Fielding is a private chef and boutique caterer based in Manhattan who weekends in Litchfield County whenever possible. Many of her Manhattan clients are also Litchfield County weekenders, so work brings her to Northwest Connecticut as well. A Los Angeles transplant, Fielding was a former Hollywood film executive who segued into screenwriting several years ago, which enabled her to pursue her passion for food and entertaining. Lisa’s culinary skill set draws from a broad spectrum of dishes and ingredients.
I have always loved piperade which is a Basque dish that combines red bell peppers, onions and tomatoes sautéed and reduced until a thick, rich sauce is produced. It is the perfect companion to seared, roasted and grilled fish, my personal favorite being salmon. But I had recently made a Peruvian feast for a client and fell in love with an equally simple dish called Lomo Saltado. The surprising ingredients in this tomato sauce are soy sauce and red wine vinegar. I know, sounds strange, but tastes otherworldly. So I combined the two and came up with Piperade Saltado! And the crowd went wild. The sauce reduced for a good two hours on low heat in a wide skillet so I recommend giving yourself ample time to make what is otherwise, easy peasy. Sear salmon or a fish or your choice and plate on a bed of lemony, chicken stock-flavored white rice. Pair with a cold, crisp Sançerre and dinner is served.
Seared Salmon Piperade Saltado
For the sauce
2 small red onions sliced thinly
4 red bell peppers roasted, peeled, seeded and sliced thinly
(Can substitute 24 oz. jarred variety)
(1) 32 oz. can of San Marzano whole tomatoes, hand-crushed
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes.
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil divided
1. In a large skillet, over medium heat, sauté the onions in half the olive oil until caramelized, around 12 minutes. Remove from the pan.
2. Add the remaining olive oil and toss in the roasted red bell peppers and sauté for five minutes until they start to break down. Now add the tomatoes to the skillet together with the onions. Stir until combined.
3. Bring to a simmer and add the soy sauce and red wine vinegar all at once. Cook until reduced by half, for up to an hour over low heat.
4. Add salt and crushed red pepper flakes to taste.
For the salmon
2 lbs. salmon fillet, skin on, sliced into 1/3 lb. servings
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1. With a fork, poke the fillets in a few different places, a la poking a pie crust before it bakes.
2. Salt and pepper the fillets, douse with the lemon juice and soy sauce. Let sit for 15 minutes.
3. In a large skillet heat 1 tbsp. olive oil until very hot. Pat the fillets dry and add three to the pan skin-side down. Gently press the fillets with the back of a spatula.
4. Cook for 3 minutes or until the skin is crispy and browned.
5. Flip the fillets and once again press down gently with the back of a spatula. Cook for 3 minutes or until a caramelized crust has formed.
6. Remove from the pan and allow to rest on a rack so the skin stays crisp. Repeat with remaining fillets.
For the rice
2 cups long-grain white rice
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 cups chicken stock
Juice of one-half lemon
1. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and add the rice all at once. Sauté until rice is completely coated in butter for 2 minutes.
2. Add stock and lemon juice all at once. Bring mixture to a boil. Turn heat down to low, cover and cook for twenty minutes until done.
1. Reheat sauce briefly and smear 1/3 cup on a plate.
2. Mound 2/3 cup of rice on top.
3. Gently place seared salmon on top of rice. Dollop with sauce. Add a sprig of parsley.
4. Repeat for each plate and serve.