In my world there is salsa, homemade salsa and Rick Bayless salsa.
I use to love the first two until I tasted the third.
If you haven’t tried a Bayless recipe yet, you should — today.
One of the first Bayless dishes I tried came from the kitchen of a friend and neighbor who grew up in Chicago, home of his flagship Frontera Grill.
She came to a small gathering of neighborhood moms bearing a clay casserole dish of his Chipotle Shrimp, which uses a bit of simple roasting to take shrimp and a $2 can of chipotle peppers en adobo into something worthy of your best company.
It was almost four years ago and I still make sure I’m never without those little cans of delicious smoke and heat.
But back to the point about roasting and salsa. The chipotle shrimp uses the same technique as the Bayless roasted tomato salsa, which is my new gold standard of salsa: Roasting roma tomatoes and garlic before doing anything else.
No one wants to heat up the kitchen in the summer, but I promise the roasting goes fast and any uptick in the mercury will be well worth it.
But all of this talk of roasting the summer bounty of tomatoes (one of the best parts of the season in my opinion) got me thinking about how I could apply Rick’s technique to other dishes.
Salsa doesn’t need to exist solely as a vehicle for salty chips, that’s for sure. Some of the best salmon dishes I’ve had use a salsa to impart great flavor without trying to compete with the meatiness of the fish — mango salsas in particular can be amazing with salmon.
Toward that end, I recently adapted the Bayless roasting technique to create a simple summer salmon dish, no complicated recipe required.
I hope you like it!
Grilled Salmon with a Simple Roasted Tomato-Potato Salsa
Marinate salmon in a bit of olive oil, chopped garlic and parsley
Any old baking potato or small new potatoes
Fresh basil or other fresh herbs you may have around
Chipotle peppers en adobo
Roast 3-4 roma tomatoes on a cookie sheet under the broiler or on grill until skins blister and turn black in spots. Six minutes or so. Use more or less depending on how many you are feeding.
On a dry hot pan, roast 2-3 garlic cloves with skin on until black on the outside, soft on the inside. (Inhale wonderful smell, wonder why you don’t roast garlic more.)
Once everything is cool enough to handle, roughly chop roasted tomatoes. Squeeze garlic into same bowl as tomatoes. Chop more.
Chop chipotle peppers, incorporating as much of the adobo sauce as you like. Obviously the more peppers/sauce you use, the hotter the dish will be.
Microwave your potato (pierce skin with fork)
As your salmon rests, take the same pan you used to roast your garlic and get it nice and hot again.
Add a little olive oil and toss in the tomato/roasted garlic mix. Add in your peppers to taste. Add the potato, chopped into bite-sized pieces, and cook for just a minute or two to get everyone acquainted.
Once all the flavors come together, use your “salsa” as a bed for your simple grilled salmon.
Garnish with fresh basil or other complementary herbs such as fresh cilantro.
Roasted corn on the cob would work great with this dish.