If you read my last post about my Alaska adventures, you may remember that I said I would try to recreate a salmon dish I ate at Anchorage’s Glacier Brewhouse. Above is my attempt at just that – sauteed wild Alaskan salmon encrusted in macadamia nuts, topped with an orange-rum glaze and a tumble of mango-peach salsa. I deviated a bit on the side dishes from the original dish (pictured below), which were rice, sauteed onions, red peppers and spinach.
Normally, I wouldn’t have used corn as a side dish because the shape and texture looks too much like the salsa, but much of what I cook is dictated by what I have on hand, so corn it was going to be. I added a little color to the corn with swiss chard from the garden and the red peppers I had recently roasted. Although the rice might sop up some of the sauce more readily, this combo was delicious too.
The salmon in the Glacier Brewhouse’s version was quite piquant since they used sriracha chile aioli to marinate the fish, but I toned mine down somewhat and used oil flavored with jalapeno instead (again, no sriracha chilis on hand, but jalepeno si.) It still had a spicy tang to it, but the orange-rum glaze also added a slight sweetness to it as well.
Start by cooking the jalapenos for a few minutes in the oil, then let the oil cool down before adding the cilantro and marinating the salmon. This provides a great adhesive for the macadamia crust that gets browned in a mixture of olive oil and butter.
You can make the mango/peach salsa early in the day.
The corn mixture is made right before serving, as you’re cooking the fish. Just saute a little swiss chard (or spinach) in a tablespoon of olive oil along with some onion. When it’s nearly cooked, trim the kernels off some fresh corn and add to the saucepan, with a tablespoon of butter. Give it a minute or two, adding salt and pepper to taste, then add the chopped red peppers. It’s a winning side dish with grilled meats or roasts as well as fish.
4 5 or 6-ounce salmon pieces (skin removed)
1/2 cup crushed macadamia nuts
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup olive oil (for marinating)
1 jalapeno pepper
1/4 cup minced cilantro leaves
2 T. olive and 1 T. butter, melted (for cooking the salmon)
Orange Rum Glaze:
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup dark rum
2 T. honey
1 mango, minced
2 peaches, minced
1/2 small green pepper, minced
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 T. minced cilantro
juice of 1 lime
dash of salt
Directions for salsa: Mix everything together in a bowl and taste for seasonings. You can make the salsa way ahead of time and keep it in the fridge.
Directions for the Salmon: Cut the jalapeno pepper into about four pieces and place it in a saute pan with 1/4 cup of olive oil. Simmer it for about 10 minutes, then remove the pepper and discard. To the oil that’s been cooking with the jalapeno, add the other 1/4 cup olive oil. This will help to temper the hotness somewhat. If you have a higher tolerance for heat, cook the jalapeno in the entire 1/2 cup olive oil. Place the oil in a plate and let it come to room temperature.
About an hour before you want to cook the fish, place the pieces in the plate with the oil and swish both sides of the salmon in the oil. Let it sit on the counter in the oil while you prepare the rest of the dish.
Place the macadamia nuts in a food processor with the bread crumbs and grind until very fine, pulsing so it doesn’t turn to a paste.
Take the salmon pieces out of the oil and pat into the nut/crumb mixture on both sides. In a heavy skillet, melt the butter with the 2 T. olive oil. Saute on low heat otherwise you’ll burn the outer coating. When it’s browned on one side, flip it over and cook the other side. It should take about five minutes on each side at most.
While the salmon is cooking, make the glaze by putting all the ingredients in a saucepan over high heat. Cook until it’s reduced by about half.
Plate the salmon, spooning some of the glaze on top and finishing with a few tablespoons of the salsa.