Cook’s Corner

Cook’s Corner: Chimichurri gives salmon a peppery bite



New Orleans style Muffuletta

For the olive salad:

1 jar (about 7 ounces) pimiento-stuffed olives, sliced

1 jar (about 6 ounces) marinated vegetables

3 whole roasted pimientos, diced

3 to 6 cherry peppers or pepperoncini (optional)

2 cloves of garlic, minced fine

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons pickling liquid from olive jar

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

For the sandwich:

1 round loaf Italian bread

Olive oil

1/4 pound each of sliced cappicola or ham, Genoa salami, mortadella, provolone and mozzarella cheeses

Shredded lettuce and sliced tomato (optional)

Combine all the olive salad ingredients in a glass bowl, cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. Split the bread in half horizontally. Remove excess bread if desired. Brush both cut sides with olive oil. Layer meats and cheeses on the bottom half. Top with olive salad, then the top of the bread. If desired, wrap in foil and heat 25 minutes in a 300-degree oven. Open and add lettuce and tomato if desired. Press top back on lightly and slice into eighths. Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 411calories (49 percent from fat), 22.2 g fat (7.8g saturated, 7.1 g monounsaturated), 38.8 mg cholesterol, 18.4 g protein, 33.5 g carbohydrate, 4.2 g fiber, 1572 mg sodium.

Source: Linda Cicero Cook’s Corner


Bacardi Rum Cake

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1 box classic yellow cake mix

1 (4-serving size) box instant vanilla pudding mix

4 eggs

1/4 cup cold water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup dark or light rum

Rum glaze:

1 stick of butter

1/4 cup water

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup dark rum

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan or 12-cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle nuts over bottom of pan. Mix together the dry cake mix, dry pudding mix, eggs, cold water, oil and rum. Pour batter over nuts. Bake 1 hour, or until cake tests done. Cool. Invert on serving plate. Prick top all over with a toothpick. Drizzle and smooth glaze evenly over top and sides of warm cake, repeating until all glaze is absorbed. Makes 16 servings.

Per serving: 421 calories (47 percent from fat), 22.0 g fat (5.8 g saturated, 8.1 g monounsaturated), 59.6 mg cholesterol, 3.7 g protein, 45.0 g carbohydrate, 1.0 g fiber, 371 mg sodium.

Main dish

Salmon with Arugula Chimichurri

For the chimichurri:

1 bunch (about 2 cups) fresh cilantro, including stems, coarsely chopped

2 cups fresh arugula, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, packed

3 tablespoons lime juice

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 small garlic clove, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

For the salmon:

6 (6- to 8-ounce) Verlasso salmon fillets

Olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Puree the chimichurri ingredients, cilantro through black pepper, in a food processor or blender until smooth. May be prepared up to one week in advance, stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator with some olive oil poured over the top. May also be frozen up to 2 months.

To make the salmon: Heat the grill to high, approximately 450 degrees.

Brush the fish on both sides with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the salmon, meat side down, until lightly golden, about 4-5 minutes. Turn the fillets over, reduce heat to medium or move to a cooler part of the grill. Cook until the skin is browned and the meat is just cooked through but not falling apart, 2-3 minutes more.

To serve, transfer the fish to serving plates or a platter. Spoon a few tablespoons of chimichurri over each fillet. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 437 calories (62 percent from fat), 30.3 g fat (2.3 g saturated, 6.5 g monounsaturated), 37 mg cholesterol, 36.8 g protein, .9 g carbohydrate, .18 g fiber, 164 mg sodium

Source: Adapted by Linda Cicero from a recipe by Verlasso Salmon.

You wouldn’t normally associate chimichurri with salmon, but the peppery bite of this arugula-kissed version pairs wonderfully with the fish and of course is a great accent to grilled flavors. The recipe is from Verlasso salmon, the only ocean farmed salmon to make the “eco-friendly” list of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch. The impact of fish farming on the world’s oceans is of concern to many; the list assigns seafoods a red, yellow or green rating, based on their sustainability and environmental impact. Red is “avoid,” yellow is “good alternative” and green is “best choice.”

Verlasso is farmed in Patagonia, Chile, and is carried in Florida by Fresh Market. You can find more recipes and where to buy in other areas at

Reader questions

Q: I would like the recipe for the olive mix to make a New Orleans style muffuletta. My husband has become addicted to it, and I’d like to make my own.

M.H. Ripoll

A: I had my first muffuletta in New Orleans at the Central Grocery, the unassuming place where it all began, during an unforgettable food writer’s conference in the early 1980s. For those unfamiliar, the muffuletta is a giant sandwich on a soft Sicilian bread of the same name that is layered with mortadella, salami, mozzarella, ham or cappicola and provolone, and spilling over with the olive salad — giardinera vegetables and olives tangy with vinegar and tamed by olive oil. This recipe is one I created after the trip.

Look for the giardinera — marinated vegetables — on the grocery shelves near pickles and olives. The jar should include cauliflower, onions, carrots, celery and peppers. You can, of course, make your own by chopping the raw vegetables and marinating in vinegar and oil or Italian salad dressing.

Q:Last night I made your strawberry cake. It was fabulous. I gave some to my neighbors in my condo and they all loved it. The only thing I would change is the icing. I’m looking for a glaze to use instead of the butter cream, something light like Bacardi rum cake topping — but I lost that recipe.

Kathryn Johnson

Key Biscayne

A: I am happy to pass along the recipe for the glaze — and the rum cake — because I know readers will inevitably ask if I don’t provide it too. One caveat: I hadn’t made this in a while and realized that some cake mixes have shrunk in the meantime. The box I unwittingly brought home from the store weighed nearly 2 ounces less than the previous 18.5-ounce size. My resulting cake was a bit too moist and pulled away from the pan, so I had to add another 4 tablespoons of flour. You might consider going back to the circa 1930 scratch version of the cake, or supplementing the flour if your batter seems too wet.

Reader response

J.J. asked for help finding a recipe for an Easter treat his Hungarian grandmother used to make. He remembered it was made with nuts and cinnamon, and he thought was called somadi kalakas. Georgina Dosti figured out why J.J. could not find a recipe.

“The actual spelling should be kalács,” she said. “This is a well known sweet bread that is always filled, usually with nuts and walnuts but sometimes with poppy seeds or with fruit. There are different shapes for kalács. For holidays and celebrations like weddings it is usually braided, but for everyday use it is a round or a ring.” The recipe is readily available in Hungarian cookbooks or by typing kalács into a search engine, or I will be happy to email readers a copy of Georgina’s recipe.

• On the subject of Easter bread, Dolores S. Adams of Palmetto Bay writes: “Last year about this time one of your readers complained about how the colored Easter eggs she put in her braided bread always ‘bled’ color into the dough when baked. Try forming aluminum foil into the shape of eggs and use them instead when braiding and baking. After the bread is baked, replace the aluminum foil eggs with hard-boiled dyed eggs; they’ll fit perfectly into the depressions made by the foil. My mother taught me this about 40 years ago.”

Send questions and responses to or Food, The Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172. Replies cannot be guaranteed.

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