Easy Green Finish for Flavor Explosion!

The airborne passengers surrounding us we’re hacking and sneezing–it was like being trapped in an explosion of missiles.

Returned from Viet Nam (re: previous blog) totally fried. Yet, thanks to constant hand washing and a vigilant use of masks while flying, we managed to skirt that horrid flu that is bowling down folks across the globe.

So it seems wrong to complain about jet lag. But I’m still struggling.

Corned Beef and Cabbage with Horseradish-Watercress Dressing

Corned Beef and Cabbage with Horseradish-Watercress Dressing

And here it is, St. Patty’s Day in the wings and I want to be festive. My usual go-to is Corned Beef with Horseradish-Watercress Sauce but this year I’m looking for simplicity for our Blarney Blow-out.

Pic taken in central Viet Nam–Hoi An. A typical street vender ubiquitous in towns and villages across the country.

Viet Nam (their food fresh on my mind) hosts a vegetable-heady cuisine, the abundance of herbs added to dishes being no exception. Sometimes a large branch of fresh herb leaves would accompany rice paper wraps for seasoning whatever other goodies were brought to the table.

On a couple of occasions, I inquired as to the unfamiliar herb I was enjoying but the response was that there was no English name or equivalent. Our loss.

So back to St. Patty. Why not inject a flavor explosion onto a protein with a simple herbaciously green dressing reminiscent of a classic Chimichurri?

Whole Foods has beautiful wild-caught Coho salmon on sale. I found a simple little recipe in the New York Times for salmon on which I improvised, and voila!

Any fresh herb-vinegar-garlic combo would work when paired with fowl, fish or grilled meats, although I’d make sure you enjoy that herb (or herbs) in abundance. Fresh basil comes to mind. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Recipe:Roast Salmon with Cilantro-Chive Chimichuri


  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 generous cup (washed) chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup snipped fresh chives
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2-2 pound salmon fillet, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 lemon or lime, cut into wedges
  • Assorted greens, such as spinach and chard, briefly sautéed with garlic and red pepper flakes, if desired.


  1. To make the “chimichurri”, whisk together vinegar, half of the oil and garlic. Stir in cilantro and chives. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Set aside.
  2. Adjust oven rack to upper third level. Preheat oven to 425 degrees (see notes).*
  3. Place fillets on an aluminum-covered baking sheet lightly coated with cooking oil spray. Whisk cumin, paprika and remaining oil together. Brush over salmon fillets. Season fillets with kosher and freshly ground pepper.
  4. Roast fillets until desired level of doneness.* (I prefer my salmon slightly underdone in the center.) At this oven temperature, for the thinner fillets this could be 6-8 minutes. For the thicker fillets, 10-12 minutes. When the salmon flakes under the pressure of your thumb, it is done and could be overdone, depending on your palate. Remember that the fish will continue cooking when removed from oven. (See additional notes below.
  5. Remove fillets from oven and spoon cilantro chimichurri over top. Serve with lemon and sautéed greens, if desired.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Roasting Time: Depends on thickness of salmon fillet and temperature of oven (see * below notes)

*NOTES: Much debate is given to the cooking time of fish. Some prefer baking at lower temperatures for a longer time (300 degrees for 15-18 minutes for this recipe); some recommend cooking right out of refrigeration while others recommend cooking from room temperature. And, of course, all of this is compounded by the thickness of the fillets. Experiment to see which method works best for you. Absolutely remove your thin fillets from the oven a couple of minutes before the thicker ones.

Number of servings (yield):  4 servings

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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