Through lived experience I’ve found that when a craving hits, you should just feed the beast and then move on. It’s just going to haunt you until you do. So last week Matt and I booked a vacation – this May is our ten year wedding anniversary (!!!) so the last week in April we’ll be traveling to the Bahamas, visiting both Paradise Island and the Exuma Cays. (I’m SO excited!!)
We made dinner reservations to eat at Mesa Grill, at the Atlantis resort, and that, my friends, got me craving this dish. Unfortunately for me, Mesa Grill’s flagship New York location closed down a year or so ago; fortunately for me, there’s a Mesa Grill Cookbook! And yes, this is the recipe I’ve made most often from said book.
This is surprisingly easy, for a fine dining restaurant dish, and it’s a real show-stopper. I’ve made it for dinner parties quite a few times, and my mom has as well. Everyone has raved. And yet, it’s also simple enough for a weeknight meal, believe it or not.
I just love it. The recipe contains three steps, all of which are super easy and two of which can be done ahead of time. Upon making this (yet again!) I realized I had never put it up on the blog – for shame!! Time to correct that little misstep!
You just have to make this one soon – it’s so incredibly delicious. And now my craving is sated, and perhaps more importantly, now I won’t be tempted to order it when we dine at Mesa Grill in a few months – and that’s important because at Mesa Grill Atlantis, this dish costs $39 – apiece!!! A little outrageous… I’d rather make it for about $25 total (meaning for two servings) in my own kitchen. Enjoy!
Source: adapted from The Mesa Grill Cookbook by Bobby Flay
BLACK BEAN PUREE:
1 small red onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained
1-2 chipotles in adobo sauce
1 tsp ground cumin
1/3 cup honey
1 tbs ancho chile powder
1 tbs Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 (about 8 oz.) skin-on salmon fillets
2 tbs canola oil
Cilantro or scallions, for garnish
½ cup sour cream
1 large or 2 small jalapeno chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded if desired, and chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper
First make the BLACK BEAN PUREE. In a medium sauté pan preheated over medium-high, drizzle in some canola oil, then add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a food processor. Wipe out the skillet. Add the black beans to the food processor, along with the chipotle chile(s), cumin, and salt to taste. Fill the black beans can up about halfway with water, then add that to the food processor. Puree until very smooth. If it’s too thick, add a touch more water. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Transfer the bean puree back to the skillet you wiped out and place over medium-low heat for a few minutes, just to warm up the beans. Turn the heat to low to keep warm but not scorch them while you prepare the rest of the dish.
Note: the beans can be made ahead and reheated just before serving.
Now make the SALMON. In a small bowl, add the honey, ancho chile powder, Dijon mustard, plus a pinch each of salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth.
Season the flesh sides of each salmon fillet with salt and black pepper. Add the canola oil to a large skillet or cast-iron pan and set it over high heat. When the skillet is very hot, add the salmon fillets skin side down. Let them cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes, until a crust forms and they will lift from the skillet with no sticking issues whatsoever. In the last minute of cooking on this side, brush each fillet with some of the honey glaze. Flip the salmon fillets and cook flesh side down for at least 2 minutes, and up to 2 minutes beyond that. 2 minutes flesh side down will get you rare to medium-rare salmon, so go longer if you want it more done in the center.
Remove the salmon fillets to a plate and brush more glaze on the flesh side of each fillet.
To make the JALAPENO CREMA, place the roasted jalapenos and sour cream in a small or mini food processor, season to taste with salt and pepper and puree until smooth.
To assemble the dish: on each of 4 large dinner plates, spoon a mound of black bean puree and spread it out all chefy-like with the back of a spoon. Center a salmon fillet over the spread of bean puree, then dot the jalapeno crema all around the salmon and bean puree. Garnish with cilantro sprigs or snipped scallions if desired. Serve immediately.