Salmon in Tomato Sauce

Salmon In Spicy Tomato Sauce with Feta

Fish simmered in thick and flavorful tomato sauce was one of my grandma’s classic dishes. Since we lived near a couple of large rivers, she usually used freshwater fish that our local fishermen delivered to her right after he caught. That would be our grand dinner! Babushka would clean the fish, fry the filet on a skillet and then finish the cooking in tangy and slightly sweet tomato sauce. I need to admit that the sauce was my favorite part. I learned to appreciate the fish only when I grew older. I’d scoop the sauce with a gigantic piece of fluffy white bread (baton) until my grandma would notice that and place a generous chunk of fish on my plate. She would not let me get up until the plate is clean. Slavic kids know – there is no way of fooling babushka.

My Salmon in Spicy Tomato Sauce with Feta and Parsley Oil recipe is an homage to the favorite childhood dish. My version is slightly more refined, with an addition of hot peppers, aromatic spices, and salty feta cheese. But despite a few additional ingredients, the core of the dish is intact – robust, bold flavors, delicate fish, and thick, comforting sauce.

Salmon In Spicy Tomato Sauce with Feta and Parsley Oil

Ingredients
  

For the salmon:

  • 6 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 2 dried chipotle or ancho chili pepper sliced
  • 1 chili pepper thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 pounds bell pepper thinly sliced
  • 3/4 pounds tomatoes chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro plus more for garnish
  • 1 1/2 pound skinless boneless salmon filet
  • 1/2 lemon thinly sliced
  • 4 oz feta
  • olive oil
  • salt

For the parsley oil:

  • 1 ounce chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Instructions
 

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Brush the salmon with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with a good pinch of kosher salt. Set aside.
  • On a large skillet, heat three tablespoons of olive oil. Add the garlic and chopped peppers and fry for 3 minutes until soft and aromatic. Then add the cumin, paprika, and tomato paste. Cook stirring for 1 more minute.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and 1 cup of water. Bring to a simmer and season with a tablespoon of sugar and salt to taste. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 10 to 12 minutes. The sauce will get slightly thicker, and the flavors will beautifully merge together.
  • Transfer the skillet from the heat and stir in the chopped cilantro. Pour the sauce into a large baking dish, place the salmon in the center; top with lemon slices. Roast the salmon in the oven for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, blitz 1/2 cup of olive oil and parsley until smooth. Pour into an airtight container and set aside. You can refrigerate the parsley oil and enjoy it for about a week.
  • Remove the salmon from the oven and top with the crumbled feta. Then drizzle with the parsley oil, and top with the rest of the cilantro. Serve right away!