Instead of smoking salmon, Alex Stupak ingeniously adds smokiness with chipotles and mezcal (a tequila-like spirit), then serves the silky salmon with a crisp sorrel salad drizzled with a lime and cream cheese dressing. “Either a bagel or a tortilla would be suitable with this dish,” he says.
Slideshow:Sensational Salmon Recipes
Recipe from Food & Wine America's Greatest New Cooks
One 12-ounce skinless salmon fillet
1/2 cup mezcal
3 dried chipotle chiles—stemmed, seeded and torn into small pieces
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 ounces small sorrel leaves (see Note)
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
How to Make It
Step 1 prepare the salmon
Set the salmon fillet in a glass or ceramic baking dish. Brush the fish all over with 1/4 cup of the mezcal, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Step 2 prepare the salmon
In a spice grinder, combine the dried chipotles with the kosher salt and grind to a fine powder. Sprinkle both sides of the salmon with the chipotle salt, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours longer.
Step 3 prepare the salmon
Brush the salmon with the remaining 1/4 cup of mezcal and tightly wrap the fillet in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Step 4 prepare the salmon
Unwrap the salmon. On a work surface, using a very sharp, thin knife, cut the fish at an angle crosswise into very thin slices. Arrange the slices on a platter.
Step 5 make the salad
In a blender or food processor, puree the cream cheese with the lime juice and 2 tablespoons of water. Season with salt. In a bowl, toss the sorrel with the red onion and the dressing. Serve the salad alongside the salmon.
If sorrel is unavailable, use baby spinach.
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