Cilantro. You love it our hate it. I love it. I cannot understand how others can’t love it, but they do. A New York Times article called those poor, poor people Cilantrophobes.
The majority of those who dislike cilantro report that it tastes like soap. A chemical analysis of cilantro finds that a number of the components that make up its distinctive smell are also found in soap. And bugs. Yes, bugs and soap have a similar smell profile. It is estimated that many who have a strong prior association to the scent with soap (or bugs) have an instant aversion to the herb.
Lucky for me, I don’t have that association. In fact, when I am in the grocery store buying cilantro, I will pick up several bunches and pick the bunch with the strongest scent. I’ve heard somewhere, I think from Food Network’s Alton Brown, that the weaker the smell of cilantro, the weaker the taste. I’ll leave the weaker cilantro on the shelves for all you soapy bug smellers.
Such a beautiful looking dish. Great tasting as well!
I love these individually packaged salmon filets for dishes like this.
Mixing up the dressing.
Adding it to the salsa.
A nice sear on the salmon.
Seared Salmon with Cilantro-Cucumber Salsa
- 1/2 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, halved lengthwise again and thinly sliced crosswise
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/2 yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch julienne
- 2 Tbs. chopped shallot or red onion
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish
- 1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
- 1 1/2 tsp. canola oil
- 1 tsp. honey
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp. salt
- 4 salmon fillets, each 5 oz. and about 1 inch thick
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Lime wedges for garnish
In a bowl, combine the cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, shallot and chopped cilantro and toss gently to mix. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, 1 tsp. of the canola oil, the honey, red pepper flakes and 1/2 tsp. of the salt. Pour the lime juice mixture over the cucumber mixture and toss gently to mix and coat evenly. Set aside.
Sprinkle the salmon fillets on both sides with the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and the black pepper. In a large, nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 1/2 tsp. canola oil. Add the fish and cook, turning once, until opaque throughout when tested with the tip of a knife, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
Transfer the salmon fillets to warmed individual plates and top each with one-fourth of the salsa. Garnish the plates with the cilantro sprigs and lime wedges. Serve immediately.