Salmon baked in mint-cilantro sauce

Waking up had been hard these days. I start early for work and barely have time for myself. I stretched my limbs, groaned in minimal voice not to disturb my little sunshine who was in deep sleep. I tip toed to the bathroom.
I brushed.
I showered.
I dressed.
I boiled crushed ginger in water. Left it to come down to room temperature. Mixed in some organic honey and fresh lemon juice. I packed my sandwich and fruits and nuts for the day. With a hot mug in hand, I went to the garage but ran back upstairs within few minutes to remind my inlaws about the Copper River Salmon package that would arrive that afternoon.
I hopped into my car and drove straight to the BART station. I lowered my car window just enough to get the cold breeze kiss my cheeks. I felt refreshed. Sipping my hot ginger drink, I thought about the dish to cook with fresh salmon that would arrive in few hours and also praying about people signing up for my cooking class at Whole foods.
On my journey in BART, I read few papers I picked from Pubmed and the time just flew. The city was pretty cloudy that day. I wore my thick jacket, ordered hot chocolate from La Boulange and cruised down the lanes of smog covered city. The day went busy with lots of tasks to complete. I called home every few hours to check on my son. Glad that my inlaws are there to take care of him and I stay more peaceful at work. And in one of my calls, my FIL informed me that the parcel arrived and fish looked so meaty and fresh. I was more than excited to create a fabulous dinner that night.
What’s so special about it?
Copper River Salmon is one of the most prized sources of wild Alaskan salmon available.  For foodies like me, we love the  supreme flavor and health benefits of Copper River Salmon. Out in Alaska one can find the best salmon in the world. They are caught in Copper River, US’s 10th largest river. This season, my blog Spices and Aroma  will represent San Francisco as one of the Copper River Salmon Fresh Catch Crew Member where I will be pointing out places I spot these salmon through my facebook page and twitter.  We are 15 bloggersacross America who are bringing in latest information about its availability and you could also check the salmon recipes in their blogs. Exactly a week or so ago, the 2012 Copper River salmon season officially opened. The fisherman have been out in the river catching salmon for this season’s harvest. Since Mother nature decides the availability of the type of Salmon, we received Copper River Sockeye for this week’s shipment.

Sockeye have a gorgeous deep, red color and are low in fat, high in omega 3sand high in protein.  I decided to cook a sauce with mint and cilantro for a refreshing taste and green chillies for a mild spice kick. For added flavors, I used ginger and garlic cloves. On the last minute, I threw in some soy sauce. The recipe just kept flowing and I added ingredients with an idea to create a dish with spicy, pleasant savory taste. The plan was to cook a base sauce with Indian spices and bake the salmon at 400F for 15 minutes.
When I tasted it, the texture was smooth and flaky. The aroma was refreshing. The taste was perfect – creamy buttery sockeye soaked in delicious green sauce. I am so glad I did this as it came out really well. This is going to my regular dinner menu at home.
Welcome to our family’s picnic world. We love summer as this is the season when we venture out every park and zoo in the city. The days are filled with basking in the beautiful sunshine, munching loads of food and having fun with friends and family. Our trips kick started from Memorial day weekend. Good food is a part and parcel of great picnic. If you carry perishable food, then packing them right is key. Since I try to keep the food healthy and stick to South beach diet rules (to an extent), I load my picnic basket with vegetables with hummus, whole grain bread smothered with mint chutney and cucumbers, low fat cheese and in the wine bag goes our favorite wine. If using a cooler, line the bottom of it with freezer bags or ice cubes. For our next trip,  I am going to pack my picnic baskets with home cooked Copper river salmon cakes (recipe coming soon) and serve it with spicy apricot chutney and white wine.
Source: Self
Serves 4
4 salmon fillets
For the green sauce
1 bunch cilantro – chopped
1 bunch mint – chopped
2 Thai green chillies
1 inch ginger
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion –  chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chili powder
2 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
Salt to taste
1 lemon for garnish – cut in roundels
1. Pat dry the salmon fillets with a kitchen towel. Set aside.
2. In a food processor, pulse the mint, cilantro, green chillies, ginger, garlic cloves and soy sauce to a smooth paste. Set aside.
3. In a large cooking pan. heat oil. Once they ripple, add the onions and let it sweat and brown a bit. Then mix in the green sauce and saute for couple of minutes.
4. Sprinkle in the turmeric, chili, coriander powder and simmer the sauce for 15 minutes. Add water if it dries up. You don’t want to burn the sauce. So keep an eye on the base sauce.
5. Finally sprinkle garam masala and check for seasoning. Since we added soy sauce, be careful with the addition of salt. Switch off the flame and set aside.
1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
2. We are going to prepare packets with aluminum foil. So, remove a large sheet of the foil, large enough to wrap the salmon.
3. Place the salmon fillet skin side down. Smother the green sauce over it. Be generous. I love it that way. You can add more or less depending on your taste. Place a lemon roundel and wrap the foil in four directions to create a rectangular pocket.
4. Bake for 15 minutes and serve hot. I served mine with mushroom pilaf/pulao and roasted potatoes/mushrooms.
What was so good about this salmon?
We love salmon. Since we were done with cooking salmon with foreign spices and herbs to me (like dill, chives) and eating it with salads, this season I am in the mood to fix Indian inspired salmon dishes in my blog. For today’s recipe, I baked it in an aluminum foil just perfect enough to make it flaky, juicy and simply delicious. I think Copper River King tastes so good and fish was so meaty and had so much good fat. Importantly, they didn’t get dry and with my green sauce, they tasted incredible.
Feel free to check back my space often. I’ll also tweet and post updates on my facebook page as I find them in San Francisco/ Bay area.Good luck in finding some!
I received the salmon filet for free from the Copper River Salmon Association. I did not receive any monetary compensation for the review. My thoughts & opinions in this review are unbiased. 
Additional notes:
1. Salmon baked in green sauce is an ideal lunch/dinner menu for those in South beach diet phase 1.
2. Also ideal for those who are diabetic/pre-diabetic and on a weight loss journey.

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  1. The entire platter looks super delicious.. I love the mint cilantro sauce..

  2. Yummy platter,who will say bo to that super flavourful salmon..inviting.

  3. Nothing better than fresh salmon, I am lucky to live near a great fish market here in Florida, years ago living in San Francisco I was able to get fresh wild salmon there, here I get salmon from Scotland. Interesting combination of the mint and cilantro I will have to try that.

  4. Salmon + mint cilantro sauce..perfect combo I must say! Baking the fish in foil packets keeps the fish fillets so moist..

  5. This sauce sounds so good with the salmon! And, the salmon is so fresh and beautiful. Looks like a great meal.

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