Caramelized Salmon with Mirliton Slaw
Move over, cole slaw, Chef David McCelvey has come up with an alternative. Mirliton (also known as chayote squash) was cultivated in Central America by the ancient Aztecs and Mayans, and this mild green gourd is quickly becoming popular all over the U.S. Here McCelvey uses it as counterpoint to glazed salmon -- and adds the “zing!” of spicy piri piri as a condiment.
- Mirliton Slaw
- Mirlitons (chayote squash) - 2
- Carrot - 1 peeled
- Red Onion - 1 sliced
- Cucumber - 1
- Rice Wine Vinegar - 1 tablespoon
- Fresh basil - 1 tablespoon, shredded
- Juice of 1 lime
- Salmon fillets - twelve, 2-ounce
- Soy sauce for brushing
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sugar for dredging
- Oil - 2 tablespoons
- Lemon - 1
- Flat-leaf Parsley - 2 sprigs
- Piri Piri - 1 to 2 tablespoons (optional; recipe follows)
- Chives - 12
- Piri Piri
- Jalapeno Chilies - 4
- Poblano Chilies - 2
- Habanero Chili - 1
- Dried red pepper flakes - 1-1/2 tablespoons
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Olive Oil - 1-1/2 cup
- Garlic - 1 tablespoon, minced
To make the slaw: Boil the mirlitons until tender, about 20 minutes. Cut the carrot and mirliton into julienne. Blanch the onion slices in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes; drain. Rinse in cold water and drain again. Peel, seed, and julienne the cucumber. Combine all the rest of the ingredients and set aside.
To prepare the salmon: Brush the salmon with soy sauce and season with salt and pepper. Dredge in sugar. In a large saute pan, grill pan, or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat and saute the salmon until caramelized, about 4 minutes per side.
To serve: Pare the zest from the lemon in large pieces. Place three salmon medallions on each plate. Top with slaw and sprinkle with piri piri. Divide the pieces of lemon zest and chives on the plates. Garnish each with three chives.
Seed and coarsely chop the chilies. Combine all of the ingredients except the garlic in a small saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes. In a blender or food processor, puree the mixture with the garlic and set aside. Let the sauce cool to room temperature and store in a bottle covered with plastic wrap for seven days before using. The piri piri may be kept, refrigerated, for 2 months.