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Paleo Salmon with Orange, Pecan and Pepper Relish
Paleo Salmon with Orange, Pecan and Pepper Relish Photo courtesy of Vik Sen

With its focus on foods that existed in the hunter-gatherer era, the Paleo diet can seem limiting (me, berries; you, nuts). But in the hands of a chef like Houston’s Bruce Molzan, Paleo cooking (which can definitely yield a lean, healthy physique) goes from boring to bold. At his new restaurant, Corner Table, Molzan serves light Paleo meals like this simple salmon supper. An easy rub and an orange, pecan and pepper relish dress up the fish with bright colors and flavors. We bet our caveman ancestors never ate this well.

Makes 4 servings (plus about 2 cups relish)
Start to finish: 45 minutes

Ingredients

Orange, Pecan and Pepper Relish

1 orange

2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, cored and finely chopped

½ red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

½ jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped

¼ cup toasted and roughly chopped pecans

2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves

1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of 2 limes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Salmon

2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Four 5-ounce skinless salmon fillets

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil

Directions

1. Make the relish: Zest the orange and transfer the zest to a medium bowl. Cut a small slice off the top and bottom of the orange to reveal the flesh. Place a flat side of the orange on a cutting board and, working from top to bottom, use a sharp knife to cut away the remaining peel and white pith. Take the fruit in your hand and, holding it over the bowl, carefully cut each inner segment away from the membrane and let the segments fall into the bowl.

2. Add the tomatoes, bell pepper, jalapeño, pecans, cilantro, ginger and garlic to the bowl and mix until just combined. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk the olive oil with the lime juice until just combined. Pour the dressing into the bowl and mix until just combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

3. Make the salmon: In a small bowl, combine the cilantro with the cayenne and cumin. Gently rub the mixture onto both sides of the salmon fillets. Season the fillets with salt and pepper.

4. In a large skillet set over medium heat, warm the olive oil or coconut oil. Add the salmon to the skillet, working in batches if needed, and cook until just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.

5. Transfer the salmon to serving plates and serve immediately with the relish on top. (Pass the additional relish on the side or reserve for another use.)

Finishing Touches

It's the details that count! Try these tips

  • Learn more about the Paleo diet or pick up a book that explains its health benefits.

  • Try another chef-endorsed Paleo recipe.

  • Stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container, the relish will keep for about one week. If possible, make the relish a few hours before your meal, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate to let the flavors meld.

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