Salsa Verde with Pan-Roasted Salmon

I’ve mentioned my neighbor Beppi’s salsa verde before, and I’ve been experimenting with my own.  Here is a version that I’m proud to call my own.  This sauce can go on a variety of grilled fish and meats, as well as boiled meats (it’s traditionally used to dress mixed boiled meats in the region of Emilia Romagna).  It’s also great as a dip for vegetables. Tonight, we’re having the sauce on my pan roasted salmon.

Professional chefs have a method of cooking fish in a skillet that produces the most sensational golden crusty exterior while keeping the interior moist and tender.  This method is one of the few professional techniques that can be adapted to the home kitchen without any special equipment.   I like to use this method for salmon, although it would work equally well for other thick firm-fleshed fish, like Chilean sea bass or striped bass.  No recipe is required for the fish, simply a discussion of technique.

To begin, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.   The fish begins on the stovetop, then gets transferred to the oven.  Season the non skin side of the fish well with salt and pepper.

Preheat ovenproof skillet on high until smoking hot.  Pour in 1 tablespoon olive oil and immediately lay in the fish, skin side up.

Set timer to 4 minutes and allow to sear undisturbed on high heat.  NOTE:  you may need a spatter screen (and a good exhaust fan helps), since the fish will sputter and smoke as it browns.  After 4 minutes, simply move the skillet to the oven without turning the fish or touching it in any way.

Set timer to 6 minutes and allow to finish cooking in the oven. Obviously, the flame power varies depending on your range, so these times may need to be adjusted in your kitchen.  If you see that your fish is looking exceptionally brown around the edges prior to the completion of the 4 minutes on the stovetop, by all means, move it to the oven earlier.  The important thing is to not flip the fish or disturb it in any way until it’s developed a crust on the bottom.

After the fish comes out of the oven, you can gently remove the skin with tongs.

After removing skin, season the skin side of the flesh with salt and pepper and gently flip the fish to serve.

You’ll have a fantastically golden, crispy fish that you’ll swear was cooked in a professional kitchen!

Tonight, along with the fish, I decided to make skillet potatoes, sauteed zucchini and boiled green beans–all perfect accompaniments to my green sauce.

Salsa Verde (My Way)

serves 4 generously

2 hard-boiled eggs

1/4 c fresh chopped chives

1/4 c  + 2 tbls fresh chopped parsley

6 cornichons

2 tbls dijon mustard (creamy)

6 pitted green olives

zest of 1 lemon + juice of half a lemon

1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in food processor and process to a smooth puree.

If using as a dip, serve as is.  If using as a sauce, thin with a couple tablespoons of water.

Serve with all manner of grilled meats, seafood, boiled meats, as well as boiled or raw vegetables.

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