California native Phyllis Kidd was raised with Southwest flavors. Her mother and half-Mexican father were in the restaurant business, and she says, "I grew up around the best chefs in the industry." These influences led her to create dishes that marry Western classics such as salmon and avocado with Latino zest.
1/2 pound tomatillos
2 or 3 unpeeled cloves garlic
About 1 1/2 teapoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 to 6 pieces (1 in. thick; about 6 oz. each) boned salmon fillets
2 fresh jalapeño chilies, stemmed
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 firm-ripe avocado (about 1/2 lb.)
1/3 cup minced onion
How to Make It
Pull off and discard tomatillo husks. Rinse and dry tomatillos.
In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, cook tomatillos and garlic until lightly browned, about 5 minutes, turning often. Remove from pan to cool.
Peel garlic and mash to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix with oil and vinegar.
Rinse fish and pat dry. Coat skinless sides of salmon with garlic mixture. Let stand about 5 minutes.
For minimum heat, remove seeds and veins from chilies. Coarsely chop chilies.
In a food processor or blender, combine chilies, tomatillos, 1/4 cup cilantro, and lime juice. Whirl until puréed.
Peel, pit, and coarsely dice avocado. Add half the avocado to tomatillo mixture and whirl just to blend slightly. Pour into a bowl and stir in onion, remaining diced avocado, and salt to taste.
Lay fish on an oiled grill over a solid bed of hot coals or high heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand at grill level only 2 to 3 seconds); close lid on gas grill. Cook salmon, turning once, until opaque but still moist-looking in center of thickest part (cut to test), 6 to 8 minutes.
Transfer fish to plates, garnish with remaining cilantro, and top with tomatillo-avocado salsa. Add salt to taste.
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