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Pan-Seared Salmon with Cumin-Coriander Crema and Chipotle Salsa
Servings: 6

6 8-oz salmon fillets, skin intact
1 c fresh oregano leaves, stemmed and finely minced
1 c fresh basil leaves, stemmed and finely minced
1 c fresh parsley leaves, stemmed and finely minced
1/2 c olive oil

1 1/2 T cumin seed
1 T coriander seed
1 c plain yogurt
2 T heavy cream
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, stemmed and chopped
2 cloves garlic
juice of 1 lemon

1 egg
1 t ground red chile
1 chipotle chile in adobo
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 clove garlic
1 1/4 c olive oil

Rinse and dry each salmon fillet. It is not necessary to remove
the skin from the fillets. Check for pinbones by running your
fingertips over the flesh side of the fillet. Use pliers or tweezers
to remove any bones.

In a small bowl stir together the oregano, basil, and parsley. Pat
the herbs onto the flesh side of each fillet, covering well.
Refrigerate until ready to cook.

To prepare the crema, combine the cumin and coriander seeds in a
small, dry saute pan over medium heat. Roast the seeds, shaking
the pan frequently, until the aromas are released, about 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let cool. Place the spices in a spice mill
or coffee grinder and grind to pulverize the seeds. Alternatively,
pulverize in a mortar using a pestle.

In a small bowl, combine the ground seeds with all the remaining
crema ingredients. Let sit for 30 minutes so the flavors can develop
and blend. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl to remove
the cilantro leaves. You will have about 1 cup. (The crema will
keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.)

To prepare the salsa, place all the ingredients, except the olive
oil, in a food processor fitted with the metal blade or in a blender.
Blend thoroughly. With the motor running, slowly pour in the olive
oil in a thin, steady stream, continuing to process until a
mayonnaiselike sauce is achieved. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and
refrigerate until serving. You will have about 1 1/4 cups. (The
salsa will keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.)

About 15 minutes before serving, place a saute' pan large enough
to hold the salmon, with room to spare, over medium heat. Add the
olive oil. When the oil is just smoking, put the fillets in the
pan, herb sides down. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, then turn and cook on
the second side until done, 4 to 5 minutes longer. Cooking times
vary according to taste and the thickness of the fillet. At Cafe
Pasqual's fish is considered done when the middle is still moist
and a bit darker than the surrounding light pink flesh.

To serve, spoon the crema onto individual plates, dividing it
equally among them. Place 1 salmon fillet on each plate, herbed
sides up, to cover half the crema. Drizzle the salsa decoratively
onto the fillet and then onto the visible half of the crema.


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