roasted salmon + cassava tostada + tomatillio salsa
If I were to name one of the earth’s most perfect foods, hands down wild salmon would be my top pick. For as long as I’ve been an adult, salmon has been a frequent part of my dinner routine, not only because I enjoy it, but because it also has that feel good factor…. you know, that feeling that I am eating something that is super good for me. But it wasn’t until I went to Alaska around this time last year to “Salmon Camp” with Copper River Salmon, that I learned about the profoundly positive impact that salmon has on the environment and the ecosystem of the area.
Until salmon camp, I knew that salmon had a season, but I didn’t really know when exactly that was (it’s roughly late May - early September). I knew that salmon was a river fish, but I didn’t know that it swims upstream, against the current, for miles and miles and that is what makes it such a nutrient dense fish. I also knew that was good for me, but I had no idea how good and crucial it is for the environment that surrounds it. I went to Alaska not needing any convincing that salmon should be a part of my weekly meal rotation, but I did not realize how much there was to learn about this powerhouse fish, and all the people who work very hard to bring it to your plate.
For people who don’t like salmon or tell me that it’s flavor is too strong for them, I would have to argue that maybe the salmon they’ve been eating hasn’t been cooked the right way. Low and slow, or seared on super high heat are, in my opinion, the best ways to cook this fish. And, slightly undercooking (medium-medium rare) will also produce a more beautifully mild outcome.
While salmon is definitely the star of the show here, I also want to call your attention to another favorite ingredient of mine, cassava flour. Since reducing the amount of grains and gluten in my diet, I am always in search of new ingredients to take their place, while keeping the nutritional component at a very high standard. Well, in walked cassava flour to my life about a year ago, and I don’t know why it’s taken so long for us to unite. It’s one of those foods that is not a sad stand-in for something else, and it’s not pretending to be something it’s not. It actually produces tasty and extremely satisfying results. It has it’s own wonderfully unique texture, it is it’s own unique experience. Cassava flour is derived from a starchy root vegetable, yucca, and it is a very popular ingredient used in Latin cuisines for many thousands of years. It is good to note that it is super high in carbohydrates, so if you need to avoid carbs for blood sugar reasons, then this might not be the best for you. But, even those on a low AIP paleo diet can add cassava flour to their pantry. And what a wonderful, fun treat it is to add into your repertoire, starting here with these tostadas (which could easily be made into tortillas as well!)
roasted salmon + cassava tostada + tomatillo salsa
All three parts to this recipe can be interchanged, cooked on their own or with another recipe. If you cannot find tomatillos, you can either just omit them and add an extra green or yellow pepper.
for the salsa:
6-8 tomatillos, husks removed and diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 jalapeño, (seeded if you don’t like it too spicy), diced
1 red onion (about 1/2 cup when diced)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
a drizzle of avocado oil (neutral oil)
a pinch of cumin
salt + pepper
a 1/2 lime, squeezed
for the salmon:
8oz - 1lb of wild salmon (I like to use a little more, because it makes great leftovers)
salt + pepper
your favorite spice mixture (I like NY Shuk harissa spice for this recipe)
a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon
for the cassava tostadas:
1 cup of cassava flour (I like Otto’s brand best)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 cup of warm water
ghee or a neutral oil for cooking
scallions or chives, minced
radish, thinly sliced
plain yogurt or sour cream
Make the salsa:
Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Place the tomatillos, green pepper, jalapeño, red onion and garlic onto a sheet pan, drizzle with the oil, season with the salt, pepper and cumin. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until all of the veggies are soft, but not yet brown. Remove, transfer to a bowl, add a squeeze of lime, and set aside until you’re ready to serve. This can be made days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Roast the salmon:
Lower the oven temp to 300F. Place the salmon skin side down onto a baking sheet, season with salt, pepper, and the additional seasoning (if you like). Drizzle with olive oil and squeeze some lemon juice over the top. Cook for 15-25 minutes, depending on how cooked you want your salmon. I prefer 15-18 minutes for medium rare, but if you like it more cooked then leave it in for longer. Remove and gently flake off pieces using a fork.
While the salmon is roasting, make the cassava tostadas:
Place the flour and salt into a medium bowl and stir. Then add the olive oil, and add the warm water a tablespoon at a time until the mixture comes together into a dough that is sticky but not too wet. The amount of water may vary, but should be right around 1/2 cup. When the dough has formed, knead it 10 or so times, and then form the tostada rounds. Pinch off a golf ball sized amount, roll it between you palms, and press it to flatted it. Transfer to a parchment lined plate, and do this until all of the dough has been formed. Heat some ghee or oil in large cast iron over medium heat. Place a couple of the dough rounds into the pan, don't overcrowd, and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, until they are golden. Transfer to a plate, and get ready to top and serve.
To add the toppings, I like to start with the yogurt then add a few pieces of the flaked salmon, then some avocado and radish and finish with the salsa and chives. Enjoy!