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When I go out to eat and see something on the menu that’s a little off the beaten path, I have a hard time not ordering it. It doesn’t matter if we picked the restaurant based on the fact that I was craving a burger or a big plate of vegetables or some other unexciting dish — if they have something that I’ve never heard of before, chances are I’ll order it. If it’s bad, that just means I get to have dessert!

Rabbit? Check.

Alligator? Double Check.

Salmon en Manchamanteles? I may not be able to pronounce it, but it was fabulous.

This dish, which translates to “tablecloth stainer” (oh boy is it messy!), was on the menu at Rosa Mexicano last summer and I couldn’t resist the description of an ancho chile and tropical fruit mole. Chock full of zucchini and pineapple, the mole was smokey and complex. I loved the sweetness of the pineapple against the rich sauce, and to pair it with salmon seemed totally natural (even though I don’t think I’ve ever seen salmon on a Mexican menu at any other restaurant). I first ordered this a full year ago, and I still think about it. Obviously, I had to try making it at home. I’ll be honest — my version doesn’t compare to theirs. But its still pretty darn good, and easy enough to make on a weeknight.

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Salmon en Manchamanteles

Prep time: 5 minutes; Total time: 20 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

  • 1 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 small Onion, chopped
  • 1 can low-sodium Black Beans, undrained
  • 1 cup chopped Pineapple, with 1/4 cup reserved juice
  • 1 cup Corn
  • 2 Tbs Mole paste, such as Goya*
  • 2 Tbs Lime Juice
  • 2 Salmon filets
  • 2 tsp. Ancho Chile Powder

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. When the oil is got, add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened — about 5 minutes.

Add the beans, pineapple and reserved juice, corn, mole paste, and lime juice. Stir well. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and the flavors have melded.

Meanwhile, rub the salmon filets with the chile powder. Heat a second pan over medium-high heat and spray with cooking oil. Add the salmon, presentation side down, and cook for 6 minutes. Flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until just pink in the center.

Serve the salmon on top of the mole.

*If you’re an overachiever like my friend Joanne, you can also make your own mole from scratch. This won’t be a weeknight recipe if you do that though. Also, send me some because I’m not that ambitious.

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