Recipe of the week: Mexican salmon: Getting a kick from tequila

The “high priestess” of modern Mexican cuisine Priscila Satkoff and her husband, Vince, blend traditional Mexican seasonings with American ingredients at ¡Salpicón!, their restaurant in Chicago.

Superchef Charlie Trotter has called fellow Chicagoan Priscila Satkoff “one of the very best chefs in America.” With her husband, Vince, Satkoff reigns as “high priestess” of modern Mexican cuisine at ¡Salpicón!, the couple’s festive restaurant. It boasts numerous signature dishes that blend traditional Mexican seasonings with American ingredients, and serves more than 100 different tequilas. In her new cookbook, The ¡Salpicón! Cookbook: Contemporary Mexican Cuisine (Chronicle Books), Satkoff explains that salpicón, the Spanish word for dash or splash, is similar to the French word soupçon.

Salmon is so versatile that it “goes well even with sweet flavors, like this fruity red sauce.” Red papaya is usually available this time of year in well-stocked produce stores, but the more familiar golden papaya is an acceptable substitute. The grapefruit and corn salsa makes for “a wonderful sweet-and-savory combination,” enhanced by coarse salt.

Recipe of the week

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Salmón Con Salsa de Papaya Roja y Tequila

(Salmon With Red Papaya–Tequila Sauce)

Red Papaya–Tequila Sauce

1 lb ripe red papaya, peeled, seeded, chopped (about 3 cups)

1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp high-quality silver tequila

2 tbsp fresh lime juice

Grapefruit-Corn Salsa

2 ears corn, kernels cut off (1 cup)

1 pink grapefruit, peeled and segmented

1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

3 scallions, white part only, thinly sliced

3 fresh chiles de árbol or 1 serrano chili, seeded, deveined, minced

2 tbsp fresh lime juice

1-1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Six 6- to 7-oz salmon fillets, preferably sockeye

Olive oil for brushing

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup four-chili sauce

3 radishes, very thinly sliced, for garnish

Fleur de sel, sel de Guérande, or kosher salt

Prepare hot fire in charcoal grill, or preheat gas grill to high. To make sauce: Purée papaya, tequila, and lime juice in blender until smooth. Heat heavy medium skillet, preferably cast iron, over high heat. Add corn kernels and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Let cool.

To make salsa: Combine grapefruit, cooled corn, avocado, cilantro, scallions, chilies, lime juice, and oil in medium bowl. Set aside. Lightly brush salmon on both sides with oil; season with salt and pepper. Lightly oil grill grids. Cook salmon until seared with grill marks on bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook until grill-marked on other side and still slightly translucent in center, about 2 minutes more. Do not overcook salmon. Transfer to platter.

For each serving, spread 1/3 cup red papaya–tequila sauce in center of dinner plate. Top with salmon fillet and 1/2 cup grapefruit-corn salsa. Drizzle 2 tbsp four-chili sauce around plate; garnish with sliced radishes. (Serve any extra salsa in bowls alongside.) Sprinkle salsa with salt. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

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