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Portland OR 97219
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Salmon in Salsa Xnipec

Sarah West

In the Yucatan, there is a salsa made with radishes, cilantro, chiles, tomato and bitter orange juice. The Mayan word is xnipec (pronounced shin-ih-pek), which means "hotter than a dog's nose", and describes a salsa that is so picante that it is likely to make a dog's wet nose hot. Bright, crisp, fresh flavors pair beautifully with rich seafood - salmon, scallops and the like.

Of course you can make the salsa as spicy as you wish. Fresh squeezed orange juice and a little lime zest and juice make for an acceptable substitute for the bitter orange juice (from Seville oranges, available in the winter – squeeze & freeze in ice cube trays for use when not in season).

I sauté the salmon, crisping the skin and searing the flesh golden brown. At the last minute, the salsa is added to the pan, sizzling and bubbling, bright and vibrant. I pair Salmon in Salsa Xnipec with deep green
radish tops that I sauté separately with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Total utilization of the radish and spring sun-filled goodness flourishing on my plate.

2 portions of salmon (about 6 ounces each) juice of 3 oranges
the zest of 1 lime, plus 2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 serrano chiles, chopped (less if desired)
5 radishes, trimmed and sliced into thin matchsticks
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1⁄4 bunch cilantro, rough chopped
1 medium fresh tomato, diced, or 10 cherry tomatoes, halved 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil plus more for sautéing the fish sea salt to taste


  1. Combine the citrus juice and zest, serrano chiles, radishes, green onion, cilantro and tomato. Stir in 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Season with salt and set aside to allow flavors to meld, about a half an hour, and up to 3 hours.
  2. Season the salmon on both sides with salt. Over a medium flame, heat the skillet with enough oil to form a generous film on the bottom of the pan. Once the oil is hot enough to sizzle when the fish is added (the oil should be shimmering but not smoking), slip the filets into the pan and sear on each side, cooking to desired doneness.
  3. When the fish are sautéed to your liking, drain off any excess oil that remains in the pan and all at once, add the salsa to the pan. It should immediately bubble up and boil. Turn the pan off and remove the fish to a serving dish, pouring the salsa over the top. Eat at once, served with sautéed radish greens.

 serves 2

Sautéed Radish Greens

greens from 1 bunch of radishes, washed & drained 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a skillet. When the oil is hot, shimmering but not smoking, add the radish greens, tossing and cooking for a minute at most, until they wilt and are tender. Season with salt and pepper.

serves 2 

Note: Any tender spring green (pea shoots, fava bean tops, spinach, etc.) will work well with this dish, or combine various greens for added interest.

From the Recipe Collection of Chef Kathryn Yeomans
The Farmer’s Feast