Slammin’ Salmon Part Deux – Cilantro Frenzy

Clearly a professional photographer took this picture

Since my teetering on the edge of imminent self-destruction home computer is deterring me from actually UPLOADING my pics from Rome (really, just any pics on the new camera) here’s a creation from late March.  This actually comes from the same weekend as the Taco BBQ on the Deck featuring steak, chicken, grilled bananas, and assorted chimichurri variations.  As previously noted, I decided to forgo the traditional parsley when creating my chimichurri(s) (is chimichurri already plural?) in favor of cilantro, the herb  everyone loves to hate (yes, that website actually exists),  I happen to love, and The New York Times deems worthy of an entire feature story.  As cilantro was not yet growing on my deck (cuz it sure is now!), a quick trip to the Key was in order, and I came home with about four bunches for $1.  A good deal of it was used up for the bbq, but the following day I found myself with an abundance of cilantro and a craving for salmon.  Which, to be honest, is barely worth mentioning because I crave salmon (raw, smoked, poached, baked, grilled, cured, lox-ed) on pretty much a daily basis (sidebar: bad joke of the week, courtesy of someone at Marko’s brunch party on Sunday: Why are there no Jews in prison?  Because they eat lox!).  Anyway, here it is, Sunday night, cilantro in my fridge and some passable looking salmon at the store.  It was too late/dark/cold/i’m too lazy to grill again, but one benefit of the cold is it makes it significantly more bearable to turn on the oven in our tiny apartment.  So, after a brief perusal of the internet to determine optimal salmon baking times/temps, we were ready to go.

But first, back to the cilantro.  I whipped out my trusty blender (still waiting on that food processor, friends) that I acquired because it was left behind by god knows who at my East Village apartment and since I was moving out of there in July I brought it along anticipating a summer full of smoothies.  I think I made like 3.  And then started using it to blend cilantro, garlic, green onion, salt, pepper, olive oil, and some cholua and red pepper flakes for good measure.  I would give measurements, but a) when do I really ever do that?  and b) making things like this is so much just to taste that it’s really hard to tell you what would work best.  Also, I made it like two months ago so there’s really no way to remember how much of what I used.  Anyway, I blended it all together into a paste the consistency of a good pesto and took several bites to ensure it was just as delicious as I wanted.

Meanwhile, I cleaned and seasoned the salmon fillets, preheated the oven to 375 and lined a baking sheet with parchment paper.  The salmon went on the sheet skin side down, and I smeared the pseudo-chimichurri across the top.  The fish went into the oven for fifteen minutes, and even I could not anticipate the result.  The chimichurri crust baked to a consistency that I can only describe as butter-like.  It melted into the fish with every bite, and if I may say so myself, it was incredible.

Since the oven was on and I still had that freakin’ cilantro, I chopped up a little more, tossed it with some lemon zest and garlic to make a gremolata and top some asparagus*.  10 minutes in the 400 degree oven and our salmon had a balanced side dish.  Unfortunately Mark didn’t think the asparagus was picture worthy.  Thanks a lot, Mark.  Thanks for taking awesome photos of my salmon but totally neglecting the greens.

Since I don't have any pictures of the asparagus, here's the salmon from another angle!

*Full disclosure, the asparagus recipe is in fact an adaptation of Crispy Roasted Asparagus With Gremolata from the Silver Palate Cookbook, or, as I like to call it, my salary for making dinner for Kerry’s family.  Thanks, Mrs. B!

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