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Recipe: Salmoriglio Sauce

Salmoriglio (sal-more-EEL-ee-yo) is an Italian lemon and olive oil sauce, marinade and dipping condiment for fish, chicken and practically any vegetable. Once you make it, you’ll wonder why you'd never heard of it before. That’s what happened to "Food Guy" Greg Patent: he lived for an entire year in Italy without ever learning of salmoriglio.
Chatting about salmoriglio with his food writer friend, Julia della Croce, Greg heard her say, “And don’t forget to add a splash of sea water.”

 It turns out that the sauce’s name is derived from salamoia, a Sicilian word which means salty brine. Even though a splash of seawater is a great addition if you live by the sea, it’s not nearly enough salt to make salmoriglio.

What sets salmoriglio apart from typical salad dressings is its acidity: 2 parts oil to 1 part fresh lemon juice versus 3 to 4 parts oil to 1 part acid for vinaigrettes. Salmoriglio just seems to magically wake up the taste in foods and brightens their flavors like a shot of sunshine.

Grilled salmon and vegetables with salmoriglio sauce:

For the salmon, Greg cooks up farmed steelhead fillets. He recommends buying a whole side of fish so that you can cut the fillets to any size you like. Six-ounce portions, with the skin on, are good dinner-size servings. If you have a fine mesh grill basket, it’s ideal for cooking the vegetables. Serve with a crusty bread. The vegetables here are just suggestions; grill whatever you like. Asparagus would work well.


Salmoriglio Sauce


--The sauce--

4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crumbled
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

--The Fish and Vegetables--

4 6-ounce steelhead fillets
1/2 pound button mushrooms, wiped clean
1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded, cut into long strips
1/2 pound green beans, blanched in boiling water for 1 minute and drained well
Salt and pepper for the vegetables


1. To make the salmoriglio, whisk all the ingredients together vigorously in a medium bowl until the sauce has a slightly creamy consistency. Taste carefully and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. As the sauce stands, it tends to thin out a bit. Just re-whisk to make it creamy.
2. Brush a little of the salmoriglio on the salmon flesh and set the fillets skin side up on a hot grill. Toss the prepped vegetables with a tablespoon or two of salmoriglio in a bowl and grill them alongside the fish in a mesh basket.
3. Grill the fish for about 3 minutes, then carefully turn the fillets skin side down onto the grill. Cook another 2 minutes or so until the fish is cooked to your liking. Remove from the grill and discard the skins.
4. Grill the vegetables for about 5 minutes until cooked and charred slightly. Season with about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
5. To serve, arrange the fish and vegetables on 4 dinner plates and spoon salmoriglio sauce over them.

Makes 4 servings.    ©2019 By Greg Patent

(Broadcast: "The Food Guys," 6/30/19 and 6/14/20. Listen weekly on the radio at 9:53 a.m. Sundays, or via podcast.)    

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