Mother Earth Living

Sustainable Seafood: Salmon in Luxurious Green Sesame Pipián

Rick Bayless' recipe for salmon in luxurious green sesame pipián is a snap to make.
Recipe Courtesy Rick Bayless, chef/owner of Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, Chicago
May/June 2007
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Rick Bayless' recipe for salmon in luxurious green sesame pipián is a snap to make. It's served here on an Annieglass Ultramarine Dinner Plate, designed by artist Ann Morhausen of Santa Cruz, California.
Photo By Batista Moon Studio

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Salmon in Luxurious Green Sesame Pipián
Serves 4

This recipe uses bottled tomatillo salsa and tahini (sesame paste) instead of traditional ground pumpkin seeds for the Mexican-style pipián sauce, so a zesty dinner is only minutes away. Seafood Watch recommends Marine Stewardship Council–certified, wild Alaskan salmon, which is low in mercury and contains few or no PCBs. Farmed salmon can be problematic because farms release waste directly into the ocean and salmon farmers often rely on antibiotics and pesticides to control disease.

2 cups store-bought or homemade tomatillo salsa
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons tahini
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
1 cup peas (heaping)
4 boneless, skinless, wild salmon fillets, 5 ounces each, about 1/2-inch thick
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, for garnish
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, for garnish

1. In a blender or food processor, process salsa to a smooth purée.

2. Heat oil in a very large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. When quite hot, add salsa all at once. Stir as salsa reduces to consistency of tomato paste, about 5 minutes.

3. Stir in broth and tahini. Return to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes. Taste and season with salt (usually about 1/2 teaspoon) and about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sugar. While sauce is simmering, steam peas until just hot and tender.

4. After sauce has cooked 10 minutes, nestle salmon fillets completely into sauce. Continue simmering gently until fish flakes when pressed firmly, usually 5 to 6 minutes. Check by lifting a fillet from the sauce on a metal spatula and pressing with your finger or the back of a spoon.

5. Transfer a fish fillet to each dinner plate. Spoon a portion of the sauce over top. Strew with peas, sesame seeds and cilantro.

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