UNITED STATES (WASHINGTON POST) - I knew that roasting tomatillos concentrates their flavour and softens their skins, but I did not realise that small ones are sweeter than larger ones and that the green fruit pairs so nicely with salmon.
My newfound knowledge comes courtesy of Marcela Valladolid's new cookbook, Casa Marcela. (FYI: Washington chefs José Andrés and Pati Jinich both provided blurbs for the book.) Valladolid's face, which appears a celebrity-worthy number of times among recipe pages, will be familiar to viewers of The Kitchen on Food Network, where she is one of the co-hosts who always seem to be talking over one another at elevated volumes. The Tijuana-born chef reminds us, too, that slightly undercooked salmon is what we're after.
To help you achieve that goal, start with a simply seasoned two-pound (907g), centre-cut piece and allow it to spend no more than 20 minutes in a 190 deg C oven. It's a nice match with a bit of citrus, those slices of tomatillo and charred edges of red onion. You'll see.
Roasted Tomatillo Salmon
Healthy Serve with white rice, or with roasted smashed fingerling potatoes.
Adapted from Casa Marcela: Recipes and Stories From My Life in the Californias by Marcela Valladolid (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017).
680g pounds small tomatillos
1 large red onion
6 chive stems
2 stems cilantro (coriander)
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
One 900g piece Atlantic salmon fillet (skin on), about 2.5cm thick at the centre
1. Preheat the oven to 190 deg C. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Discard the tomatillo husks. Rinse the fruit to get rid of sticky residue, then cut them into 1.23cm-thick rounds - trimming any stems as you go - and place them in a mixing bowl as you work.
2. Cut the red onion into very thin slices (to yield about 2 cups), then add to the mixing bowl.
3. Cut the lemon into 6 equal slices, discarding any seeds. Set aside.
4. Chop the chive and cilantro leaves and tender stems. Set aside.
5. Add the oil to the mixing bowl, then season with a good pinch each of the salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly and incorporate. Spread the mixture on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Lay the salmon over the tomatillo mixture, then season the fillet lightly with salt and pepper. Lay the lemon slices on the salmon, then scatter the chives and cilantro evenly over the top. Roast (middle rack) for 20 minutes, or until the interior temperature of the salmon registers 48 to 52 deg C. Carefully transfer the salmon to a platter, discarding any skin that remains on the baking sheet. Increase the oven to 245 deg C and return the baking sheet with the tomatillo mixture to the oven. Roast for 10 minutes, or until the onions and tomatillos begin to crisp around the edges. Serve the tomatillos and red onion slices alongside the salmon, warm.
Nutrition | Per serving: 450 calories, 47 g protein, 13 g carbohydrates, 23 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 125 mg cholesterol, 170 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fibre, 8 g sugar