Smoky, Spicy Coho with Tortilla Espanola

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles

When I looked at the meal I'd prepared this quote came to mind. Read on and you'll see why.


That's enough salmon for two servings, almost, but we each had jumbo servings like this! I guess I was cutting the side of Coho after Doc called to say how hungry he was. He wanted cous cous. I wanted to make Tortilla Español. I made both. (please pay no attention to the mix and match service!)

I started this afternoon with the pound cake, at one o'clock in the photo. I used Cynthia Mushet's Art & Soul of Baking double vanilla pound cake recipe and layered some blueberries I had cooked slightly for tartlettes.

I had more berries than my tart pans would hold.

So I made this lovely pound cake and swirled the extra berries in the middle. This was not as sweet as "we" like it so the neighbors got half. I'll suffer through the last bit.

(Click on the image to buy this great book from my Powell's bookshelf.)

The Tortilla Español was my first. I should have used a nonstick pan but I got carried away with the mandoline and sliced up so many potatoes and onions, I decided to risk the cast iron. It's pretty well-seasoned but the eggs stuck around the edges of the pan when I turned it out. Of course, you could use the Ferran Adrià and Mary Reilly technique and layer potato chips instead of potato slices, but a bag of chips wouldn't last long enough in my house!

After dinner and taking care of the rest of the dishes, there was this to contend with. Here's the great thing about cast iron. It's indestructible. I soaked it for a bit in water, then scraped what I could with this stiff spatula. Then used a plastic scrubbing pad with Kosher salt to scour out the stubborn bits. I towel dried it then rubbed it well with bacon fat and a paper towel and put it in a low oven.

Here's what the Tortilla looked like when I turned it back over, it looked fine and tasted great. I layered in some chorizo, last of the Valencia Iberico pork products.


This sweet-smoky spice-rubbed Coho is a keeper. This is a spice blend for salmon that I just love. Here are the ingredients, please visit the Alaska Seafood Marketing site for this recipe and many more.

Sweet-Smoky-Spicy Alaska Salmon Rub


2 teaspoons smoked paprika (pimenton) 
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
4 Alaska Salmon steaks or fillets (6 to 8 oz. each), fresh or thawed 
1 Tablespoon olive oil

Heat oven to 400 F. Blend all dry ingredients in a small bowl. Reserve 1/2 tablespoon rub for potatoes.* Rub/pat remaining spice mixture over top of Alaska Salmon. Let the salmon rest 5 minutes before cooking.

Heat an ovenproof pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, then salmon, rub side down. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, until browned. Turn fillets over and place entire pan in oven. Roast just until fish is opaque throughout, about 5 to 8 minutes.

*For Roasted Potatoes Accompaniment: Heat oven to 400 F. In a bowl, stir 1 tablespoon olive oil into 1 pound cubed Yukon Gold or fingerling potatoes. Add 1/2 teaspoon each thyme and sea salt to reserved rub; sprinkle herb blend on potatoes and stir to coat. Place potatoes on spray-coated pan and roast for 15 to 20 minutes.

Nutrients per serving: 275 calories, 11g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 35% calories from fat, 117mg cholesterol, 41g protein, 3g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 359mg sodium, 21mg calcium, and 1270mg omega-3 fatty acids.



About Coho and Cordova

This Copper River salmon comes from in Cordova, Alaska. They spawn in the coastal lakes and streams and have delicate flavor and rich orange-red color. The skin is silver with a faint blush on the belly. This is a lake in Cordova I fell in love with. Cordova is a fishing town that is one of the most unique places on the planet. It is a place of stunning beauty and remarkable people. It's home to some of the very best salmon, sustainably harvested. It's also home to a small museum which houses the Shame Pole Mike Webber carved after the USS Valdez spill in the Sound. That is one of the most moving works of art I've ever seen and it's on my mind with the recent disasters in the Gulf.


This is the harbor in Cordova.

Coho before.


Coho after, and the meal did have some color, too.

Next up: Ceviche!