Yum. This recipe is compliments of Rick Bayless, and I love it. Very spicy and flavorful, the salsa really perks up the fish (sometimes I get bored with salmon, all we seem to do is either a white wine or dill/mustard sauce with the stuff). This is definitely different, and the colors are bright and gorgeous (pictures don't do it justice!).
The best part of the whole thing: This dish is meant to be served at room temperature, and you can make the salsa up to 2 days ahead, plus grill the salmon a day ahead if needed (then just bring both to room temperature, on the counter for an hour or two).
Grilled Salmon Vera Cruz with Lemon Thyme-Scented Salsa
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the grill and the salmon
1 medium-sized onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
7 c. diced (1/2 inch) ripe tomatoes
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus a few sprigs for garnish
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 c. pitted, roughly sliced green olives (preferably manzanillo olives)
1/4 c. capers, drained and rinsed
3 pickled jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
Salt, to taste
6 salmon steaks (7 to 8 ounces each), about 1 inch thick
Prepare the sauce: Place oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the tomatoes, chopped thyme, lemon zest, and half of the olives, capers, and peppers. Simmer briskly, stirring, for about 5 minutes to evaporate some of the liquid. Reduce the heat to medium-low, stir in 1 cup water and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt. Cool.
Preheat a gas grill to medium-high or light a charcoal fire and let it burn just until the coals are covered with gray ash and very hot. Reduce the heat on one side of the gas grill to medium-low or set up the charcoal grill for indirect cooking by banking all of the coals to one side, leaving the other half of the grill empty. Set the cooking grate in place, cover the grill and let the grate heat for 5 minutes. **Note: I skipped all this craziness, and just grilled fish in my grill pan on the stovetop.
Oil the grill and both sides of each salmon steak; sprinkle fish with salt. Cook the salmon over the hottest part of the grill for about 4 minutes, until nicely browned underneath. Carefully flip over the fish onto the cooler side of the grill; cook 2 to 4 minutes more for medium-rare.
Spoon the sauce into a deep platter and nestle the fish in it. Let stand at room temperature for about an hour to bring together the flavors of the fish and the sauce.
To serve, sprinkle the fish with remaining olives, capers, and peppers; garnish with the thyme sprigs. Serve immediately.