Here is my contribution to #tbt (that’s Throwback Thursday for those of you not versed in social media acronyms). Southwestern cuisine was the rage last century’s 80’s and 90’s and was pioneered by such great chefs as Dean Fearing, Stephen Pyles, Avner Samuel, Anne Greer and Robert Del Grande. I went to cooking school in Texas during it’s heyday… it may have made an impression. 🙂
Southwestern cuisine celebrates the food of Native Americans, Mexico, and well, the Southwest portion of America from Texas to Southern California. The style of cooking is fairly rustic utilizing native ingredients such as beans, corn, tomatoes, nopales (cactus), all forms of proteins, pepitas, almonds, chocolate, cilantro, cumin, and of course chilies… lots of chilies!
Back in the day, I used to often go to Santa Fe to chill out. I always made sure to stop in at Cafe Pasquale’s for the salmon with black bean burrito which, at the time, was an eye-opener for me. This is my tribute to that tortilla filled with awesomeness… Grilled salmon marinated and glazed with adobo sauce and lime juice, spicy chipotle black beans, and topped with a cooling crema infused with cumin and cilantro.
This is not a complicated dish and comes together in under 45 minutes. The marinade, glaze, beans and crema all have over lapping ingredients and a lot of them should already be in your pantry. I’ve written the recipe so that it all comes together comprehensively… just follow the directions in order. Really, except for the grilling, it’s mostly combining and stirring ingredients together (even the beans). I served it with cumin and lime marinated zucchini since it’s the height of zucchini season.
NOTE: due to the recent issues with cilantro imported from Mexico, please read the label/wrapper to ensure that you are buying cilantro grown in the USA.
- 2 pounds salmon fillets, with skin on
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning
- 4 teaspoons adobo sauce from canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
- Juice from one lime
- 1 clove garlic, pressed or creamed
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano, crushed
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ medium white onion, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 to 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
- 1 can (15 ounce) black beans with liquid
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon + 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon + ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ cup Mexican crema or ½ cup sour cream thinned with 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- Prep the salmon: Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper then place in a shallow pan or bowl just big enough for a single layer. Whisk together the adobo sauce, lime juice, pressed garlic, oregano, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar and a big pinch of salt. Divide mixture in half. In one half, whisk in the olive oil until combined and then pour over the fish. Turn fish in the marinade to coat and place in the refrigerator until ready to cook. Whisk the honey into the remaining half and set aside - this is your glaze.
- Light the grill: Set up grill for cooking over medium-high heat. Brush and oil grates before cooking.
- Make the black beans: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onions and garlic and saute for 4 to 5 minutes or until soft. Stir in the chipotles, black beans including liquid, balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, and ½ teaspoon ground coriander. Simmer for 5 minutes, then keep warm.
- Make the crema: In a small mixing bowl, stir together the crema, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon, ground coriander, and 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro. Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice of 1 half into the crema mixture and stir. Cut the other half of lime into 6 wedges and set aside - this is your garnish.
- Grill the salmon: Place fish on the grill (flesh-side down) at a 45° angle to the grates cook for 4 to 6 minutes then use a SPATULA to flip. Brush with the adobo-lime glaze and cook for another 5 minutes or so. The salmon is done when it is still moist, flake with a fork and has just turned opaque at the center.
- Bring it on home: Remove the salmon from the grill, brush once more with the glaze, and tent with foil. Lightly mash the beans with a fork so it is about 50/50 mashed and whole beans. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro and taste. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Serve it up: Spoon a nice puddle of black beans on to the plate. Place salmon atop the beans and top with a generous tablespoon of the crema. Serve with a lime wedge for squeezing over the fish.
Cheers and Happy Grilling!