Dani García first made a name for himself playing with liquid nitrogen and other high-tech gadgetry at his award winning restaurant, Calima in Marbella, Spain. But at Manzanilla, his New York City restaurant and first dining establishment outside of his mother country, Garcia turns his attention to the traditional Spanish dishes of his youth. One of García's favorites is his mother's zucchini pisto, a Spanish version of ratatouille in which tomatoes, onions, peppers and zucchini are slowly cooked together before being spiked with fresh herbs. The pisto is a fragrant accompaniment to salmon or pasta, or even goes with a fried egg for breakfast.
Pan-Seared Salmon with Zucchini Pisto
Recipe adapted from Dani García, Manzanilla, New York City
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
3 ripe medium-size tomatoes, cored and quartered
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (preferably Spanish olive oil)
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
1 red bell pepper--halved, seeded and chopped into ¼-inch pieces
2 medium zucchini, ends trimmed and zucchini chopped into ¼-inch pieces
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Four 6- to 8-ounce salmon fillets, pin bones removed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (preferably Spanish olive oil)
1. Make the zucchini pisto: To a blender, add the tomato quarters and purée until smooth. Set aside. In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, add the 2 tablespoons olive oil and the onion. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the red bell pepper, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, about 10 minutes. Stir in the zucchini and cook until it begins to soften, about 8 minutes. Add the blended tomatoes and simmer on low heat until the pisto looks thick and has reduced by half, about 35 minutes. Add the rosemary and thyme sprigs and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and discard the rosemary and thyme. Season with the 1 teaspoon of salt.
2. Cook the salmon: Use paper towels to pat both sides of each salmon fillet dry. Season the fillets with the 1 teaspoon of salt and the black pepper. In a large skillet set over high heat, add the 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add 2 of the salmon fillets, skin side down. Cook the salmon without moving the fillets until the skin is browned, about 4 minutes. Use a fish spatula to gently flip each fillet over, and cook until the center of the fillets are semi-firm, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining 2 salmon fillets. Serve with the zucchini pisto.