A week and a half ago I attended a special dinner at the City Creek Harmons Grocery in downtown Salt Lake City. The dinner was to celebrate the introduction of Verlasso salmon to Harmons seafood cases. Why the big deal? In 2013, for the first time ever, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program listed an ocean-farmed salmon on its “yellow list” as a good alternative—Verlasso salmon farmed in the Patagonian waters of Chile. Prior to this happening, farmed salmons had always been on the Seafood Watch’s “red list,” or the list of what should be avoided due to sustainability and environmental impact issues. The positions on the Seafood Watch program’s lists cannot be purchased, and Verlasso’s move to the “yellow list” came after officials from the the Seafood Watch program made 12 separate visits to the Verlasso fishery and wrote up a 100 page study.
This good alternative recommendation for an ocean-farmed salmon marks what I hope will be a trend in the world of sustainability—the efforts of companies to make sustainable choices so that our oceans have the chance at a healthy future.
The dinner with Harmons showcased the quality of the Verlasso salmon with a multi-course extravaganza:
- Hors d’oeuvres: Smoked Crab Polenta Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Aioli, Verlasso Salmon Kabobs, and Marinated Veggie Skewers
- First Course: Candied Salmon Cheeks with Sea Vegetable and Leek
- Second Course: Smoked Salmon and Mango Ceviche
- Third Course: Chorizo Mussel Consommé with Poached Verlasso Salmon
- Fourth Course: Grilled Verlasso Salmon with Arugula Mint Chimichurri and Quinoa Black Bean Salad.
- Fifth Course: Stuffed Figs with Wild Honey and House Gelato
I was especially taken by the second course, the smoke salmon with a mango ceviche. It was simple, yet bursting at the gills with flavor(pardon my bad pun). After the dinner, I spoke with Chef Aaron, one of the chefs who had conceptualized the dishes for the evening, and asked him about the smoked salmon and mango ceviche course. He was kind enough to briefly described its execution.
The day after the dinner I took a trip to my local Harmons Grocery for ingredients because I couldn’t get the dish out of my head. They didn’t have any of the smoked Verlasso salmon in stock, so I picked up some of the regular Verlasso salmon. Once at home I whipped up an interpretation of what I had eaten—a simple baked Verlasso salmon topped with a mango ceviche. I dialed up the heat in my ceviche, and Bug, who isn’t a fan of anything spicy, ate more than 2 servings of the fish, practically without breathing.
The fish is rich in flavor and very moist. Paired with the sweet and spicy mango ceviche, this is a dish that will make impress the taste buds, but won’t require you to spend hours slaving away in the kitchen to put it on the table. This would be a great dish to serve dinner guests.
Baked Salmon with Mango Ceviche
Makes 4 servings
For the mango ceviche:
1 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and finely chopped
1/2 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 — 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 red jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
Juice of 1 1/2 limes
For the baked salmon:
1 pound Verlasso salmon, cut into 4 pieces
Coarse-grained sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
2. Make the mango ceviche: Put all of the ingredients for the mango ceviche in a bowl and toss everything together to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes to chill and marinate.
3. Make the baked salmon: Season the salmon with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Place the pieces of salmon, skin side down, on a non-stick baking sheet, or a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking sheet. Bake the salmon in the preheated oven until it is cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes. Serve topped with the mango ceviche.
*Recipe Notes: Can’t take the heat? No worries! Use 1/4 of a red jalapeno, or ditch it altogether!
*Disclosure: I am thrilled to be working with Harmons Grocery over the coming year as a brand ambassador. As part of this relationship I am compensated for creating recipes and writing posts.