Recently I combined two recipes—both staples of my summer cooking repertoire—into what turned out to be a delicious main course. I have often made and even included in my cooking classes Barbecued Salmon Fillets, but never have I garnished them with Fresh Peach Salsa, a condiment I usually reserve for grilled pork. However, earlier this week at the supermarket when I spotted a bag of local peaches perfectly ripe and temptingly priced, I had a eureka moment! Why not pair that tangy peach salsa with fish such as salmon (already on my grocery list) instead of pork? Both were simple recipes to assemble.
At home, while I marinated the salmon in a mixture of soy sauce, molasses, lime juice, and chopped ginger, I put together the salsa. The peaches were peeled and diced, then tossed with chopped red onion, fresh lime juice and zest, plus chopped garlic, jalapenos, and cilantro. At serving time, it took less 15 minutes to grill the fish.
The coral-hued salmon fillets, with their flesh burnished from grilling, looked lovely mounded with the colorful peach salsa. And the flavors melded seamlessly: the sweet and salty accents from the marinade for the fish complemented the bracing citrus notes from the salsa. Aristotle had it right when he said, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
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Grilled Salmon Fillets with Fresh Peach Salsa
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons molasses, preferably unsulfured molasses (See market tip.)
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
Four 6-to 7-ounce salmon fillets, cut 3/4 to 1-inch thick
Canola or olive oil for oiling grill and salmon
Lime wedges or slices for garnish
Fresh Peach Salsa
3 medium yellow peaches (about 1 pound) ripe but not too soft, peeled and cut into 1/2 -inch dice (See cooking tip for peeling peaches.)
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, plus more if needed
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeno pepper, seeds and membranes removed (See Cooking Tip)
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Freshly ground black pepper
1.For salmon, combine soy sauce, molasses, lime juice, and ginger in a small nonreactive bowl, and whisk to blend. Pour into a shallow, nonreactive dish such as a pyrex pie plate. Run your fingers over salmon and remove any bones you touch with clean tweezers. Place the fish, flesh side down, in the marinade, then cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Marinate at least 1 hour or up to 2 hours.
2.While the salmon is marinating, prepare the peach salsa. Add the diced peaches to a medium nonreactive bowl along with the onion, lime zest and juice, garlic, jalapeno pepper (use more for a hotter taste), cilantro, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Taste and season with extra salt and pepper if needed and with up to 1 teaspoon more lime juice for a sharper taste. Marinate salsa for at least 30 minutes. (Salsa can be prepared 2 hours ahead; leave at cool room temperature.)
3.To grill the salmon, oil a grill rack generously, and arrange it 4 to 5 inches from the heat source. Oil the skin of the fillets. When grill is hot, place the fillets, skins side down, on the grill. If your grill has a lid, cover, the grill, leaving the vents open. If you don’t have a grill cover, tent the fish loosely with foil. Cook until the flesh is opaque and flakes easily when pierced with a sharp knife, about 10 to 14 minutes or more. Watch carefully since the cooking time can vary depending on the thickness of the fish and the intensity of the heat. When done, use a metal spatula to remove salmon from the grill. If desired, with a sharp knife cut off and discard the skins.
4.For serving arrange salmon fillets on a serving platter and top each with some peach salsa and a lime wedge or slice. Transfer remaining salsa to a serving bowl to pass separately. Serves 4
Market Tip: Both sulfured and unsulfured molasses are available. The latter is lighter and has a cleaner flavor.
Cooking Tip: To peel the peaches, score the bottom of each peach with an “X” mark. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add one to two peaches at a time to pan for 30 to 50 seconds or more. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain. When cool enough to handle, peel skins off with a sharp paring knife.
Cooking Tip: When chopping jalapeno or other hot peppers, wear gloves. The oils from the peppers are hot, and if you touch your face, especially your eyes, you can experience a burning sensation.
Salmon recipe adapted from The Big Book of Backyard Cooking by Betty Rosbottom (Chronicle Books 2004)
Peach Salsa adapted from Sunday Roasts (Chronicle 2011) by Betty Rosbottom