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Salmon Skewers with Spicy Pineapple Sauce

Quick-grilled Norwegian salmon gets the tropical treatment in this sweet-and-savory summer dish.

  • Serves

    6–8

  • Cook

    50 minutes

FRANCISCO MUNOZ

By Christopher Haatuft


Published on June 17, 2024

At Lysverket, Christopher Haatuft’s hip fine-dining restaurant in Bergen, Norway, the chef leans into his home country’s exceptional seafood, pairing the local fish and shellfish with global flavors for eclectic and elevated dishes like Øygarden scallops with umeboshi and Hardanger char with pastis and plum vinaigrette. In this summery recipe, Haatuft takes a “home-cook friendly” approach, dousing quick-grilled salmon skewers with a deeply flavorful sweet-and-savory sauce. “The key to grilling fish without it sticking,” he explains, “is for the fish to be seasoned and dried well before cooking on a very hot grill or sautée pan.” Be sure to oil the grill grates well before adding the salmon; if using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes or overnight to prevent burning.

Ingredients

For the Spicy Pineapple Sauce:

  • 1 lemongrass stalk, lightly bruised
  • One 4-in. piece of kelp
  • One 13.5-oz. can unsweetened coconut cream
  • 1 cup bonito flakes
  • One 3-lb. pineapple, peeled, cored, and sliced 2-in. thick
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. miso
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. sambal oelek or other chile paste
  • 1 tsp. finely grated galangal
  • 1 tsp. finely grated ginger
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • Fish sauce

For the Salmon Skewers:

  • 3 lb. Norwegian salmon fillet, cut into 1-in. cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • Thinly sliced cabbage, warm corn tortillas, cilantro leaves, and toasted sesame seeds, for serving (optional)

Instructions

Step 1

Preheat a grill to cook over high heat. 

Step 2

In a small pot, bring up 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the lemongrass and kelp, turn down the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the bonito flakes, and set aside to steep, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is deeply flavorful, about 10 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl, rinse out the pot, and return the strained bonito dashi to it, discarding the solids.

Step 3

Without crowding, thread the salmon cubes onto the skewers. Season lightly all over with salt and set aside at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Step 4

Using paper towels, pat the pineapple slices dry. Rub all over with 1 tablespoon of the oil, then transfer to the grill and cook, turning occasionally, just until lightly charred all over, 7–9 minutes. 

Step 5

Using a juicer, juice the pineapple. (If you do not have a juicer, extract the liquid by transferring the pineapple slices to a blender, purée until smooth, then strain through two layers of cheesecloth.) 

Step 6

To the pot of bonito dashi, add 1 cup of the pineapple juice (save any extra for another use), and the coconut cream. Whisk in the miso and tomato paste, then add the lime juice, sambal, galangal, ginger, and paprika. Season to taste with fish sauce and turn the heat down to low to keep warm while you finish cooking the fish.  

Step 7

Lightly rub the salmon all over with the remaining oil and grill, turning occasionally, until lightly charred all over and just cooked through, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to a platter and serve with thinly sliced cabbage, warm corn tortillas, cilantro leaves, and toasted sesame seeds, if desired. 

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