BAKED SIDE OF SALMON WITH COCONUT SAUCE

BAKED SIDE OF SALMON WITH COCONUT SAUCE (for six)

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one 2-1/2 to 3 pound side of salmon, any small bones removed with tweezers

 

For the marinade:
¼ cup lime juice (from about 2 limes) or ¼ cup lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)

½ teaspoon sambhaar or curry powder

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground peppercorns

 

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons canola oil

30 curry leaves, roughly torn

1 to 6 dried red chiles (optional)

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1 teaspoon ground peppercorns

2 medium red onions, finely chopped

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt

6 medium tomatoes, finely chopped

2 cups coconut milk

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

 


 

1. Whisk the marinade ingredients together thoroughly in a small bowl or measuring cup and pour into a gallon sized resealable plastic bag. Add the salmon and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or up to overnight (note that fish marinated overnight will cook faster).

2. To make the sauce, heat the canola oil with the curry leaves, chiles (if using), mustard seeds, cumin seeds and ground peppercorns in a large skillet over medium high heat for 2 minutes, or until the mustard seeds begin to pop. Add the onions and salt and cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and just beginning to brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until they break down and the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Set aside.

3. Lightly oil a deep, broiler-proof, oven-to-table platter and place the salmon, skin side down, on top. (Once cooked, a side of salmon is difficult to move intact. It is much easier to serve the fish in the dish you bake it in. Your dish needs to be oven-proof, large enough to accommodate the fish, deep enough to hold a sauce and attractive enough to use of the table. It also has to fit into your New York City oven…)

4. Pre-heat the broiler (Turn it on at least 10 minutes before you intend to use it.) Broil salmon, 4 inches from the flame, for 6 to 8 minutes, rotating the pan occasionally, until the fillet is evenly browned. Reduce oven temperature to 450* and bake salmon in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes, or until it is just cooked through. It should be opaque, springy to the touch and just starting to flake. (The baking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of the salmon, but 10 minutes per inch of thickness is the usual rule.)

5. While the fish bakes, gently rewarm the coconut sauce. When the salmon is done, remove it from the oven, spread it with the warm coconut sauce, sprinkle it with the cilantro, and garnish with lime or lemon wedges.

 

adapted from Suvir Saran, American Masala

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