Salmon in Quick Green Mole Sauce ( Pipián Verde) delivers the creamy, complex flavors of a traditional Pipián Verde in a matter of minutes with prepared tomatillo salsa and sesame tahini. This lighter mole is perfect with seafood, chicken, even grilled veggies for #meatlessMonday!
What is Mole Verde (Pipián Verde)?
In Mexico, a classic pipián is a simpler mole (fewer ingredients) thickened by nuts or seeds in combination with tomatillos, chiles, onion, and garlic. Since pre-Columbian times, Mexico's native pumpkin seeds thickened the sauce, but you will find more variations in modern times - including but not limited to pepitas, sesame seeds, peanuts, and other nuts.
Where mole is an exuberant symphony orchestra, pipián is a lively string quartet.
~~ Rick Bayless in Mexican Everyday
I have often mentioned Rick Bayless' influence on my cooking, and today's recipe started with his Salmon in Luxurious Green Sesame Pipián. His recipe combines a good quality bottled tomatillo salsa with sesame tahini. The resulting sauce is really incredible, and it comes together in 10-15 minutes.
How to Make Salmon in Quick Green Mole Sauce
When planning a weeknight "meals in minutes" dinner, I often look to fish and seafood, because almost without exception, they should not spend much time cooking. Protein-rich fish and seafood are widely available, even in landlocked locales, making them an excellent choice for a healthy lifestyle. Given our proximity to the Gulf, we eat fish or seafood several times per week!
Combining the mole verde (pipián verde) with fish, then, minimizes prep time, and maximizes flavor. I'd say that's a win-win all around! I promise you'll draw "oohs" and "ahhs" from your lucky recipients. 😋
What to Serve with the fish???
We have served Salmon in Quick Green Mole Sauce ( Pipián Verde) a couple of ways: Cauliflower Rice, Mexican Red Rice or Mexican Cilantro Rice, and plain ole white basmati rice. In all honesty, I'd go SIMPLE! The pipián sauce is so yummy, you just need something to hold the sauce!
If you ask Mark Andersen, he will tell you: Just have something to soak up the sauce!
This sauce is gorgeous on fish, seafood, chicken, pork, and veggies. Don't overlook serving the sauce with grilled chayote or Mexican grey squash. Try my favorite sustainable fish barramundi. Pound out a chicken breast to even thickness, and sauté it until cooked through. Be creative!
Don't like or can't get tahini? I'm guessing creamy all natural peanut butter will do just fine. This is just a hunch: I'll bet almond butter will work as well.
If (unlike me) you despise peas with a passion, try very thin-sliced parboiled potatoes or zucchini.
What Tomatillo Salsa Should I Use?
My favorite approach to this recipe is to use some of the Roasted Tomatillo and Hatch Green Chile Salsa (Salsa Verde) I try to have in my freezer! However, I don't always have it on hand, and this is supposed to be "quick," right?
Quality salsa verde is no longer difficult to find... I look for one with ingredients I recognize (no butylated hydroxyanisole). "Medium" heat level salsa verde that includes both tomatillos and green chile is ideal.
In closing, I do love making an authentic mole sauce from start to finish, but it's awesome to have a few tricks for quick, healthy, and delicious weeknight meals... You've got to try this Salmon in Quick Green Mole Sauce ( Pipián Verde)!
- 12 ounces salmon (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon refined coconut oil or olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 cup good quality salsa verde (see notes)
- 2 tablespoons tahini (see notes)
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup fresh or frozen peas (see notes)
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper (to taste)
- toasted sesame seeds, chopped cilantro, chopped scallion to garnish
- In a hot skillet with about half of the oil, sear the salmon portions, reduce heat, and cook through. Don't overcook! Time varies according to thickness. Set salmon portions aside.
- Process/blend salsa verde until very smooth. Add remaining oil to the pan over medium-high heat, then add garlic and cumin. Stir 1 minute, then pour in the puréed salsa verde. Stir until slightly thickened (about 5 minutes).
- Stir in the tahini and broth. Return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer another 10 minutes. Add the frozen peas the last 5 minutes. If using fresh, you may want to boil for 3-4 minutes prior to adding to the sauce.
- When the sauce is done, add the salmon portions back into the sauce, and spoon some of the fish.
- Garnish with sesame seeds, chopped cilantro, scallions as desired.
If salmon isn't your preference, substitute your favorite firm fish. I don't think sole would be a great substitute, but barramundi, halibut, sea bass, cod, tilapia, snapper would all work well.
Fish cooking times vary according to thickness. For more on pan searing salmon, see Crispy Pan-Seared Salmon Fillets.
My preference for salsa verde when I have it is my homemade Roasted Tomatillo and Hatch Green Chile Salsa (Salsa Verde). There are many good commercial preparations including the brand in the photos and Frontera Foods Medium Tomatillo Salsa available on Amazon if you can't find it locally.
Tahini is widely available. If you don't like it or can't find it, try substituting creamy peanut butter or almond butter.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 386Total Fat: 16gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 39g