Salmon in Coconut Chile Broth

by Emily Kemme
coconut salmon

Bathe pan-seared salmon fillets in a sultry, coconut-chile broth flavored with ginger, garlic, and Fresno chile. The broth ingredients are easy to assemble and don’t require much prep time. Simmer the broth while pan-searing the salmon fillets in a separate skillet. A quick and easy recipe, this Thai food hack will be on your table in no time!

The red Fresno chile has medium heat and a subtle smoky flavor. If you can’t find it fresh at your grocery store, substitute with fresh jalapeños (they won’t have the smoky taste), Chipotle peppers (jalapeños that have been dried and smoked), or experiment with a hotter pepper like the serrano. If you’re concerned about heat, remove the seeds before cooking to tone it down. Make sure to wear thin rubber gloves when working with chilies to prevent their oils from irritating your skin, and keep fingers away from eyes until you’ve washed your hands with soap and water. Chili oils burn!

Salmon in Coconut Chile Broth Recipe

1 Tbsp canola oil

2 inch piece ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

1 Fresno chile, seeded and thinly sliced

1 1/2 cups lite coconut milk

3/4 cup low-salt chicken broth

1 sweet yellow pepper, seeded and thinly sliced

1 tsp ground cardamom

1 Tbsp fish sauce

1 Tbsp lime juice

3 Tbsp chopped peanuts

mint and cilantro leaves for garnish

2 center cut salmon fillets with skin, about 8 ounces each

gray sea salt and black pepper, to taste

2 Tbsp grape seed oil

To cook the broth:

Warm oil in medium pot over medium high heat and add ginger, garlic, and Fresno chile. Stir for 30 seconds until fragrances release.

Lower heat and add coconut milk, chicken broth, yellow pepper and cardamom. Simmer for 20 minutes while pan-searing salmon. Add fish sauce and lime juice to broth during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

To pan-sear salmon:

While preparing the broth, place salmon fillets on a rack on top of a baking sheet to allow air to pass on both sides. This dries the skin for better crisping. Season salmon fillets with salt and pepper.

Heat a heavy sauté pan over high heat.

Note: I know cast iron skillets are all the rage, but not for fish. The oil from the salmon is hard to eliminate and will “flavor” everything else you cook in it for some time.

Add oil and heat until it shimmers. Place fillets in pan flesh side down and sear for one minute, or until fish easily releases from pan and is beginning to have some brown coloration.

Using a thin spatula, gently flip fillets to sear the skin. Lower heat to medium and crisp skin for about 3 minutes, pressing down on fish occasionally to prevent curling. Test for doneness by flaking with a fork or by inserting an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the flesh — it should register 145°F for medium. Remove fish from pan and let rest on clean plate for 5 minutes so juices redistribute. If you wish to remove the skin, gently slide a thin spatula between skin and flesh and work your way across the fillet.

To serve:

Ladle broth into shallow bowls. Lay salmon in broth and top with chopped peanuts, cilantro, and chopped mint.

Serves 2.


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