Wood-Fired Chipotle Salmon Salad with Grilled Corn Chow Chow/Solemn Oath End All/Lé Betre “A Bat and a Unicorn”
With the exception of a little bacon, tonight’s meal scored huge points on the healthy meter while still being insanely flavorful. A win-win in our book. Fresh salmon filets get a glaze of chipotle sauce before being dredged in our La Curandera Mexican Rub then spending time over a hickory wood fire. The smoky filets sit atop dressed greens before being topped with a killer grilled corn chow chow made with grilled corn, onions and jalapeños then tossed with avocado, crumbled bacon and queso fresco. The beer for the evening came from our friends at Solemn Oath and their new india pale ale, End All. Rounding out the killer evening was the amazing EP ” A Bat and a Unicorn” from the (sadly) now defunct Swedish quartet Lé Betre.
Wood-Fired Chipotle Salmon Salad with Grilled Corn Chow Chow – This is a super fun dish in that we spend a lot of time at the grill to complete it. Before we get to the salmon, we’ll actually start by grilling many of the components of the chow chow. We start with a frying pan over medium heat on the grill and we place 4 slices of thick sliced bacon in the pan. On the outskirts of the pan we’re going to surround the pan with 5 ears of corn, 1 red onion halved and a whole jalapeño.
After a few minutes, the bacon will have crisped up nicely and the veggies should all have a solid char on them. Shift all of the ingredients to the cool side of the grill to finish cooking if necessary.
We’re not going to let that bacon grease go to waste though, nope. We’re going to let it be a bad influence on some unassuming grape tomatoes that will hit the hot pan and wilt almost immediately whilst shedding their peels.
Once the veggies are down, we can knock out the chow chow to let the flavor merry a little. In a large bowl, we start by cutting off the charred corn kernels.
Next up we’re going to chop up the red onion and add it to the corn.
The jalapeño goes in next. We just dice it up pretty fine, then add it to the onion and corn. We’re also going to grab the bacon and crumble it up by hand into the bowl.
At this point we can give everything a quick stir before we add the next slew of ingredients, starting with the scorched tomatoes. The trick here is to mix them while chopping them into smaller bite-size pieces without totally crushing them.
Avocados. Who wants avocados? We do, so those go in next. All we need is one ripe avocado diced and we can gently stir those chunks into the mix followed by a liberal dose of finely crumbled queso fresco.
Cover and pop the chow chow in the fridge while we attend to the salmon. We start by brushing some large filets with adobo sauce then hit them heavy with our La Curandera Mexican Rub.
Back to the grill, we’re going to toss in a few chunks of hickory to the (now close to dying) embers left over from grilling the bacon and veggies. The salmon is going to start off on the cool side over indirect heat to get a little smoke on it.
After just a few minutes we can get the fish ready for its time directly over the wood fire by glazing it with a little more adobo sauce and La Curandera.
The salmon will only need a couple of minutes per side over this intense heat which is just enough time to whip together our greens. In a small bowl we combine 1/2 cup of crema with a tablespoon of adobo sauce. We squeeze the juice of one lime and a tablespoon of honey into the bowl then give it a quick whisk.
We’re using a colorful spring mix for our greens, so we’ll add just a handful of the greens into a large bowl with some of the dressing.
We are ready to build now. We start with the salad going down on a plate followed by a grilled salmon filet.
Lastly, we’re going to pile up the grilled corn chow chow as high as we can get it. Seriously, you can’t overdo this step, any left over chow chow just gets eaten with tortilla chips in true Texas Caviar-style. For the finishing touch we sprinkle roasted pepitas over the plate. This dish was just about perfect; smoky, spicy and all around delicious.
Solemn Oath End All – An IPA normally wouldn’t be our first choice with salmon but when you see a new Solemn Oath beer out, you make sacrifices. Their new one, End All is on the heavier side of the spectrum when it comes to viscosity and mouthfeel, but not so much on booziness. One of the coolest things about this beer is the pour. The IPA comes out super murky brown, like a cloudy flat cola. There are definite pine notes going on but with a stronger, heartier malt backbone. Surprisingly, for as heavy as this beer felt, it didn’t completely overwhelm the tender fish, perhaps due to the pairing up of the spicy chipotle with the hoppy IPA.
Lé Betre “A Bat and a Unicorn” – Ever wondered what The White Stripes might sound like if Wino fronted the band? Of course you have, who hasn’t? Well, wonder no more friends. Lé Betre has you covered with their raw brand of doomy garage rock on this awesome EP with only the sleazy rawk and roll of “Sweet Nancy” right in the middle of the album veering from the formula. Sadly, the band called it quits last year, so their back catalog is all we’ve got for now which is all killer.