Peanut Powered Recipes

Pan-roasted Alaskan Salmon in Aromatic Peanut Pipián

Yield: 6 portions
Tomatillo-serrano sauce base

  • 14 oz. Tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 2 ea, or to taste, Serrano chiles, stemmed
  • 2 Tbsp. Peanut oil
  • 1 ea. White onion, small, roughly chopped
  • 2 ea. Garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup, plus extra for garnish, Peanuts, raw, chopped
  • 2 cups Chicken or vegetable stock
  • 8 ea. Cilantro sprigs, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 6 ea. 5-6 oz ea. Alaskan salmon steaks or fillets, ¾” thick


  1. For the tomatillo-serrano pipián sauce: Roast the tomatillos and serranos on a baking sheet about 4 inches below a very hot broiler. When they blacken and soften on one side, after about 5 minutes, turn them over and broil on the other side. Roughly chop the chiles and transfer to a blender, along with the tomatillos and their juice.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium-size (2 to 3 quart), heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until deep golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Scrape into the blender, leaving as much oil as possible in the pan. Cover the blender loosely and blend to a smooth puree.
  3. Return the saucepan to medium-high heat and, when hot enough to make a drop of the puree sizzle sharply, pour it all in at once. Stir for a few minutes as the sauce sears and concentrates, about 7 minutes; set aside.
  4. In an ungreased small skillet over medium heat, toast the peanuts, stirring regularly for about 4 to 5 minutes, until golden. Scoop into the sauce, along with the chicken stock, and chopped cilantro. Partially cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  5. In batches, pour the mixture into the blender, cover loosely, and blend for 1 minute, until the sauce is smooth. If a smoother sauce is preferred, push the mixture through a medium mesh strainer. Return the sauce to the pan and adjust seasoning with salt. If the sauce is too thick, thin with a little stock to the consistency of a light cream soup; if it is too thin, simmer to reduce. Cover and keep warm.
  6. For the salmon: Heat to oven to 425°F. Coat a large (10-12”) cast iron or heavy ovenproof skillet with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and set into the oven. Lightly salt both sides of the fish. When the pan is very hot, after about 10 minutes, remove it, lay in the fish, and return to the oven. When the pieces of fish are crusty and brown underneath, after about 4 to 5 minutes, use a thin bladed metal spatula to carefully flip them over, and return them to the oven for 2 to 4 minutes longer for medium.
  7. For service, ladle a portion of sauce on the plate and top with a piece of salmon. Garnish with toasted peanut and cilantro as you wish

© 2011 The Culinary Institute of America
Recipe developed by The Culinary Institute of America as an industry service to The Peanut Institute.