This light holiday main course is elegant yet easy. The fish can be poached or grilled (see VARIATION, below) and served warm, cold or at room temperature. The recipe doubles easily; wrap each side of salmon separately.
The pinks of peppercorns and pomegranate seeds add a beautiful touch to the presentation. Although pomegranates are not in season, the seeds are sold separately in vacuum packaging. We found them at Wegmans.
Make Ahead: The citrus can be prepped and refrigerated; the vinaigrette can be prepared and refrigerated 2 days in advance. The fish can be baked 1 day in advance. Combine the fruits with the vinaigrette just before serving/spooning over the fish.
- For the fish
- 1 tablespoon unsalted margarine or pareve butter substitute
- 1 4- to 5-pound side of skinless salmon, bones removed
- Peel of 1 medium lime, removed in long strips
- Cayenne pepper
- 1-inch piece peeled ginger root, freshly grated (2 to 3 teaspoons)
- For the vinaigrette
- 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
- 2 teaspoons pomegranate juice
- 2 teaspoons pink peppercorns
- 3/4-inch piece peeled ginger root, cut into julienne (2 teaspoons)
- 1/4 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon celery seed
- 1/4 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced (optional; 1 teaspoon)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- For assembly
- Leaves from 2 to 3 stems cilantro, cut into chiffonade (2 tablespoons)
- 1 medium lemon, sectioned and cut into medium dice (see NOTE)
- 1 medium lime, sectioned and cut into medium dice
- 1 medium orange, sectioned and cut into medium dice
- 1 large Texas ruby red grapefruit, sectioned and cut into medium dice
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Pomegranate seeds, for garnish (see headnote)
For the fish: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Tear off a large piece of aluminum foil that is 4 inches longer than the length of the salmon.
Use the margarine or pareve butter substitute to grease the shiny side of the foil, then place the fish in the center of the foil (with what would have been skin side down).
Cut the strips of lime into very thin strips (julienne); place them in a small glass dish. Cover with water and microwave on HIGH for 45 seconds to soften.
Season the fish lightly with the cayenne pepper. Sprinkle the ginger over the fish, then scatter the julienne of lime zest on top.
Bring the long edges of the foil together, folding them 2 times to seal tightly; leave a little headspace for steam that will rise from the fish. Fold the ends as you would the ends of a present, then over twice to seal the edges.
Place the foil packet on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 16 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately open the foil or the fish will continue to cook. If the salmon looks undercooked in spots, re-seal the foil loosely and return to the oven for 5 minutes.
While the fish is cooking, make the vinaigrette: Combine the sherry vinegar, pomegranate juice, pink peppercorns, fresh and ground ginger, salt, celery seed and jalapeno pepper, if using, in a medium bowl. Whisk in the oil in a slow, steady stream to form an emulsified vinaigrette.
If serving the fish immediately, combine the cilantro and fruits with the vinaigrette and the sauce over the salmon fillet. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If serving the fish at room temperature, do not combine the fruit with the vinaigrette until just before you serve the fish. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, if desired.
VARIATION: The salmon may be brushed with 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and then grilled over the direct heat of a charcoal or gas grill for 10 minutes per inch of the fish's thickness. This method is good for smaller pieces of fish if you are planning to turn the fish over during grilling.
NOTE: To section citrus, use a large chef's knife to slice off both ends of the fruit. Stand the fruit on 1 end and slice downward along the curve of the fruit, cutting away both the peel and pith but leaving as much of the fruit as possible. Using a paring knife, cut between the sections to detach each section of fruit from its surrounding membrane.
From an upcoming book on Reform Judaism by Dallas cooking teacher and cookbook author Tina Wasserman.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.