Pipian Verde sauce (Pipián Verde), or green pumpkin seed sauce if you will, is one of the great moles of Mexico. It’s traditionally made with pepitas (pumpkin seeds), tomatillo, and jalapeno peppers. In this New Mexico Chile version I’ve replaced the tomatillo and jalapeno with hot New Mexican chilies. I’ve served it here over seared salmon, with roasted sweet potatoes.  

Salmon with Pipian Sauce
Serves 4
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Pipian Verde
  1. 1 ½ Cups Pepitas
  2. 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  3. 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  4. 1 Tablespoon Whole Cumin Seeds
  5. 1 Tablespoon Freshly Ground Cinnamon
  6. 4 Cloves Garlic, peeled
  7. 1 Medium White Onion, peeled and quartered
  8. 1 Cup of Hot New Mexico Chilies, roasted and peeled with stems and seeds removed
  9. 2 Cups Chicken Stock
  10. 1 Cup (Packed) Fresh Cilantro leaves and stems, plus additional for garnish
  11. 4 Romaine Lettuce Leaves broken into large pieces
  12. 2 Tablespoons Dark Molasses
  13. Ground Black Pepper to taste
Salmon
  1. 1 Pound of Sockeye Salmon, cut into 4 pieces
  2. 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  3. Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  4. ½ Teaspoon Lime Zest and the 2 Tablespoons of Lime Juice
  5. Pinch of Kosher Salt and Black Pepper to Taste
Pipian Verde
  1. In a large skillet over medium high heat toast the pepitas in the olive oil until they begin to pop and take on a bit of toasted color.
  2. Reserve ¼ cup of the toasted pepitas for garnish.
  3. Add the remaining pepitas to a blender, together with all of the remaining ingredients.
  4. Blend until smooth, adding additional stock as needed.
  5. It should be very thick when you’re done.
  6. Add blended pipian verde mixture to a lidded pot and bring to a simmer on the stovetop.
  7. Cover and allow to cook on low heat, barely simmering for 20 minutes.
Salmon
  1. Sprinkle the flesh side of the salmon with salt, pepper, lime zest and lime juice.
  2. Dry the skin side well with paper towel or butcher paper.
  3. Add the oil to a skillet and heat over medium high heat until oil is shimmering.
  4. Add the salmon skin side down and allow to sear until the skin side is browned and crispy.
  5. Try not to move the salmon at first, as the skin will adhere to the pan and won’t release until it is browned.
  6. You will see flesh side of the salmon become opaque around the edges when its about time to turn.
  7. Flip over each piece of salmon and continue cooking through.
  8. This should only take a few minutes.
  9. Take care not to overcook the salmon (it will become very dry if you do).
  10. Serve the salmon crispy skin side up on top of a ladleful of the pipian verde sauce.
  11. Garnish with reserved pepitas and cilantro.
  12. If you want a starch to go with the dish, add rice, black beans, or, as I’ve done here, roasted sweet potato.
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