Every Thursday on the Good Food Blog we share a recipe from our archives.
Diane Morgan‘s book is Salmon: A Cookbook, in which she reports on salmon farming across the country and provides recipes and techniques for preparing these highly prized fish. She first shared this recipe for Bell Pepper and Vine-Ripened Tomato Gazpacho with Blackened Salmon on July 30, 2005.
Serves 6 as a first course
- 1 (4-inch-long) piece baguette, crust removed, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 2 large cloves garlic
- 3/4 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsps Kosher or sea salt
- 2 tsps sugar
- 3 Tablespoons Sherry vinegar
- 3 lbs ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into eighths
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 salmon fillet (12 ounces), skin and pin bones removed, cut into 6 equal portions, each about 2 inches square
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons Blackening Spice (recipe follows)
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1/2 green bell pepper, seeded, deribbed, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeded, deribbed, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- Put the bread in a small bowl and cover with water. Soak the bread for 1 minute and then drain the water. Squeeze the bread dry and set aside.
- In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the garlic, cumin, salt, and sugar until finely chopped. Add the bread and process until finely chopped, scraping down the sides once. Add the vinegar and pulse to combine. Add half of the tomatoes and process until finely chopped. Add the remaining tomatoes and process until pur-ed. (Process in 2 batches, if necessary.) With the machine running, gradually add the oil in a thin, steady stream until the soup is completely pur-ed, about 1 minute.
- Set a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl large enough to hold the soup. Working in batches, force the soup through the sieve using the back of a large spoon, pressing firmly on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids. Taste the soup and add more salt and vinegar, if desired. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours. (At this point the soup can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
- One hour before serving, coat both sides of the salmon fillets with some of the blackening spice. Set aside at room temperature. Twenty minutes before serving, heat a large, heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over high heat until a bead of water sprinkled in the pan sizzles and evaporates immediately. Turn your exhaust fan on high. Add the oil, swirl to coat the bottom of the pan, and carefully place the salmon fillets in the pan without crowding. (Blacken the salmon fillets in 2 batches, if necessary.) Cook the salmon undisturbed until it blackens on the first side, 2 to 3 minutes. Adjust the heat if the salmon is blackening too quickly. Turn the salmon and cook the other side until blackened and almost opaque throughout, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer the salmon to a plate and set aside at room temperature for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
- To serve the gazpacho, ladle a little less than 1 cup into each of 6 large shallow soup or pasta bowls. Carefully place a piece of salmon in the center of each bowl. Scatter some of the cucumber and green and yellow pepper over the soup. Serve immediately.
This recipe makes more than you’ll need for the above dish, but it is a boon to the cook’s pantry. Use it on other seafood such as red snapper, swordfish, catfish, shrimp, and scallops. This mixture is also good when rubbed into burgers, flank steak, and pork tenderloin. In addition to the blackening method described above, use this rub when grilling.
Makes about 2/3 cup
- 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 Tablespoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 Tablespoon plus 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 Tablespoons paprika
- 1 Tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
Combine the salt, sugar, pepper, cayenne, paprika, thyme, and oregano in a bowl. Stir well to blend. Store in an airtight jar in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.