When I was growing up, every Sunday after church, my friends and I would debate on whether we would have KFC or Thai BBQ for lunch. If we did happen to have Thai BBQ, we always either chose pad thai, pad see ew, or Thai BBQ chicken. What can I say? We weren't exactly adventure-seekers at 12 years old. Flash forward years later, and I still sometimes crave Thai BBQ for my Sunday lunch. Today, I wanted to mix it up a bit by using the flavors of Thai BBQ but applying it to seafood. To make it extra glamorous, I paired it with an amazing Thai chimichurri that is now my favorite Asian condiment. I can safely say that this Thai BBQ salmon with Thai chimichurri is one dish I will crave any day.
Thai BBQ Salmon with Thai Chimichurri
Thai BBQ Salmon
- 1 shallot minced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp ginger minced
- 1 Thai chile chopped
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 stalk lemongrass chopped
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 ½ lb salmon filet
- ½ cup Thai basil
- ½ cup scallions
- ½ cup cilantro
- 2 shallots peeled
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 Thai chile
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- zest and juice of 1 lime
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ cup olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Combine the ingredients for the salmon including the shallot, garlic, ginger, Thai chile, coconut milk, vegetable oil, lemongrass, fish sauce, black pepper, coriander, curry powder, and brown sugar, stirring to combine. Add the salmon and marinate for 30 minutes. Remove salmon from marinade and place on a lined baking sheet with the skin side down. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the skin flakes easily with a fork. Remove from heat and let rest 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the chimichurri. Add all ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor and pulse until herbs are coarsely chopped. Add the olive oil and pulse until combined. Alternatively, chop all of the ingredients by hand and stir in the olive oil, lime juice, and fish sauce.
- Transfer the salmon to a serving platter and drizzle chimichurri on top. Serve with extra chimichurri on the side and lime wedges if desired.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
There are many ingredients in this Thai BBQ salmon recipe but the procedure is actually quite simple. Marinate the salmon, cook, and make the chimichurri.
To make the marinade, chop up the aromatics including the lemongrass, shallot, ginger, garlic, and Thai chile. Combine it with the spices, coconut milk, and vegetable oil and pour it over the salmon, turning to coat. Let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the chimichurri. Chimichurri is originally an Argentinian sauce made of parsley, garlic, olive oil, and acid. Call it their version of pesto. I've been making my chimichurri for years now and have paired it with tri-tip and Philly cheesesteaks amongst many other dishes. Today's version has a twist using Asian aromatics to tie it to the dish.
The three dominant herbs in the Thai chimichurri are Thai basil, scallions, and cilantro. Thai basil is a little spicy with notes of star anise versus Italian basil which is sweeter. It also has streaks of purple in the leaves and can also be referred to as "purple basil." Side note, did you know there are between 50 and 150 different varieties of basil? Incredible!
Pulse all the ingredients in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and you are good to go! If you don't have a food processor, you can finely chop all the ingredients by hand and stir in the olive oil, lime juice, and fish sauce.
Roast the salmon until the flesh flakes easily with a fork and serve it with a big dollop of the Thai chimichurri. You can also pan-fry or grill the salmon but because of the marinade, I find it easier to bake it.
I loved the layers of flavors in this Thai BBQ salmon. The fish alone is already very tasty, but that chimichurri is just heaven. Make extra of the sauce and get ready to put it on EVERYTHING.
For more salmon inspiration check out this spiced salmon with caramelized onion and pepper relish!