Salmon with Scotch Bonnet Herb Sauce and Onion Toasts

This Caribbean pepper is famous for being the hottest chile pepper in the world. They come in a variety of shapes and colors(yellow, orange,green, red,chocolate). Not only are they extremely hot, but they also have a unique,distinctively fruity flavor.

It is the key ingredient in the popular Jamaican Jerk sauce. The habanero is also widely used in many different types of hot sauces. The popularity of this chile pepper continues to grow and is becoming easier to find on the grocery shelf.

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1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
six 6-7 oz. center-cut salmon fillets with skin
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
3/4 cup Riesling
3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1/4 cup minced chives
1/4 cup chopped basil
3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro leaves
1 small Scotch bonnet chile, seeded and finely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp. (1 oz.) unsalted butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
Twelve 3/4″ bamboo skewers


In a large glass baking dish, blend 2 Tbsp of the olive oil with the mustard. Add the salmon fillets and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 500F. In a small saucepan, boil the Riesling over moderately high heat until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise with 6 Tbsp. of the olive oil. Whisk in the wine reduction, chives, basil, cilantro and Scotch bonnet. Season with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a medium skillet, add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened and starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Place the baguette toasts on a baking sheet and top with the onion. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 1 minute. Meanwhile, in each of two medium skillets, heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil until shimmering. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and add 3 fillets to each skillet, skin side down. Cook over high heat until the skin is browned and crisp, about 4 minutes. Turn the fillets and cook over moderately high heat until an even pink throughout, about 5 minutes. Spoon the chile-herb sauce onto plates. Top with the salmon fillets and serve with the onion toasts.

Recipe by Marcia Kiesel, from the October 2004 issue of Food and Wine magazine.