Saturday, August 25, 2012

Salmon in Cool Cilantro Coconut Sauce

I have to start this off by saying that I never thought I'd be cooking with cilantro. Especially fresh cilantro! I really just don't care for the herb. But more importantly, I never thought I'd be telling you that I cooked a dish with cilantro that I liked! Yes, you read that right. I actually ate and enjoyed every bite of this salmon—every cilantro-coated piece. So how did I end up with a dish centered around cilantro? Blame it on Instagramer thecavery (see website: She posted an Instagram challenge for her followers to create a dish that incorporated three ingredients: coconut, cilantro and salmon. Normally, I avoid cilantro like nobody's business. But, a challenge is a challenge, and I've been meaning to experiment more lately with food, so I thought, why not? I'm glad I did. This dish turned out great. I definitely need to take more risks in the kitchen. After all, isn't that what this blog is for?

Salmon in Cool Cilantro Coconut Sauce*
1-2 serrano peppers
1 jalapeño pepper
3 cloves garlic
1 cup fresh cilantro, packed
1 cup full fat greek yogurt
⅓ cup coconut cream**
1-2 tbsp coconut oil
6-8 oz. salmon fillet per person
Salt and pepper, to taste

*Very important: Make your sauce several hours ahead of time! The longer it refrigerates, the better the flavors meld together. Keep in mind that the heat of the peppers will also get a little stronger over time. 

Remove the seeds and membranes from the serrano and jalapeño peppers. Use more serrano for more heat. Roughly chop peppers and garlic and add to processor. Add garlic and pulse until well blended. Add yogurt and coconut cream. Blend. Salt and pepper to taste. Blend again and refrigerate until ready to serve.

At meal time, heat coconut oil in skillet over medium heat. While heating, season salmon fillets with cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. Once the oil is very hot, place salmon in skillet skin side down and cook for 2-3 minutes until skin is crispy. Flip and cook 2-3 minutes. Depending on thickness of fillet, this will cook salmon rare to medium-rare. If a longer cooking time is desired, reduce heat to medium low and cook for a few additional minutes per side. Remove from heat. Place salmon on serving plate and top with cold cilantro coconut sauce from fridge. Add additional fresh cilantro if desired.

**It's very easy to place a can of good quality coconut milk in the refrigerator for several hours and then open the can WITHOUT shaking it. Scoop the cream off the top.