Spicy Salmon Will Chase Away Winter Blues

Take the chill out of winter with a succulent salmon dinner or a spicy bowl of steaming seafood stew. (Recipe and on-line extra recipes from Stranded, but Satiated, December 2002).

Succulent Salmon, Chilean-Style

4 baking potatoes
4 salmon fillets
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup dill, chopped finely
4 slices smoked ham
4 slices mild cheese
Dill or cilantro, to garnish
Lemons or limes, sliced

Wash the potatoes and place them in a 350-degree oven to bake. Coat fillets lightly with oil and place each one on a piece of aluminum foil. (Adding a little extra oil beneath the fish doesn’t hurt). Season to taste with salt and pepper and sprinkle dill on top. Top each fillet with a slice of smoked ham followed by a slice of cheese. Seal foil packets. When potatoes are just about done, place the salmon packets in the hot oven and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the salmon is moist, flaky, and pink but not overdone. Mix ingredients to make salsa verde (recipe follows). Remove salmon from foil packets. Serve with salsa, potatoes, and a chilled, dry white wine. Garnish with dill or cilantro and freshly sliced lemons or limes, if desired.

Salsa Verde

1 cup cilantro or parsley, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 chili peppers, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
Dash each of salt, pepper, sugar

Combine all ingredients and stir to blend ingredients and flavors.

Chilean Curanto (Spicy Seafood Stew)

The shellfish-based feast known as Curanto en Olla is traditional to Chiloe and Easter Island. Hot stones are put in a pit on top of which food is layered, separated by large leaves. It’s then covered with sacks and earth and left to cook for hours. The resulting food has a rich, smoky flavor. This recipe is a stovetop adaptation of the Curanto we make aboard Balena, our 41-foot wood gaff cutter.

1 pound clams
1/2 pound smoked salmon and/or smoked pork, sausage, or salami
2 large potatoes, sliced
1 pound mussels
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
2 cups white wine
2 cups water

Spread the clams in the bottom of a large soup kettle. On top of them, layer, in this order: pieces of smoked fish (and/or meat), potatoes, and mussels. Add chopped parsley, wine, and water. Cover, bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 45 minutes to one hour. While the stew simmers, prepare the salsa:

Salsa

1 - 2 ripe tomatoes
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic (or more to taste)
1 chili pepper (or more to taste)
1/4 cup cilantro
Lemon juice, to taste
Olive oil, to taste
Salt & pepper, to taste

Chop tomatoes, onion, garlic, pepper, and cilantro and combine. Add lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

To serve the Curanto:

With a slotted spoon, ladle all the shellfish onto one platter, the fish and/or meat on another, and the potatoes on a third. Have spoons ready for each. Pour stock into individual soup bowls. Let each individual add their own seafood and potatoes to the bowls of broth, and spoon salsa on top. Serve potato cakes on the side. A chunk of foccacia or French bread is nice to sop up the broth -- and don’t forget to open a bottle of tasty Chilean wine! Serves 4 to 6.