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For Dinner Tonight: Flay's Famous Salmon

This week on The Early Show, Bobby Flay is debuting recipes from his brand-new cookbook, "The Mesa Grill Cookbook," named for his famous Mesa Grill restaurants. (Flay fans know he also has Bar Americain and Bolo in New York and Bobby Flay Steak in Atlantic City.)

This salmon recipe is a Mesa Grill classic, according to Flay, who adds that he likes to cook salmon because it is a nice meaty fish that holds up well to a variety of sauces.

Caramelized Apple Salad with Maytag Blue Cheese and Black Walnuts with Spicy Orange Vinaigrette
(Serves 4)

Says Flay: "The standard Waldorf salad, Mesa style. The apples are caramelized in the orange vinaigrette that later dresses the salad so that the flavors are carried throughout the whole dish. I call for Maytag blue cheese because I love its tangy, piquant flavor and how it complements the spicy vinaigrette. I do love black walnuts, but if you can't find them or aren't a fan, regular walnuts are a fine substitution."

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Spicy Orange Vinaigrette
4 cups orange juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped red onion
1 jalapeno pepper, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Place orange juice in a small nonreactive pan over high heat and cook until thickened and reduced to about ½ cup, stirring occasionally.

2. Place reduced orange juice, vinegar, onion, jalapeno, ancho powder, salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil until emulsified. Add the honey and blend a few more seconds.

3 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and quartered
Spicy Orange Vinaigrette
1/2 pound watercress
1/4 pound frisee, torn into bite-sized pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup black walnuts, toasted
6 ounces Maytag blue cheese, crumbled

1. Heat 1/2 cup of the spicy orange vinaigrette in a medium sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the apples, cut-side down and sauté until golden brown, turn over and sauté until just cooked through, 2-3 minutes.

2. Place the watercress and frisee in a medium bowl and toss with a few tablespoons of the remaining spicy orange vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper and divided among four plates. Arrange 3 apple quarters on each plate, garnish with walnuts and blue cheese and drizzle with some of the remaining vinaigrette.

Red Chile-Honey Glazed Salmon with Black Bean Sauce and Jalapeno Crema
(Serves 4)

Jalapeno Crema
1/2 cup crema (or sour cream or crème fraiche)
1 large or 2 small roasted jalapeno, peeled, seeded and chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place crema and jalapeno in a food processor and process until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

Black Bean Sauce
1-1/2 cups dry black beans, picked over
1 small red onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin

1. Combine beans, onion, garlic, chipotle and cumin in a medium saucepan and add just enough cold water to cover by an inch. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender, adding more water if the beans appear dry.

2. Transfer mixture to a food processor with a slotted spoon and add 1 cup of the cooking liquid and process until almost smooth, sauce should be a little chunky; season with salt. If the sauce is too thick, thin with more of the cooking liquid.

Ancho Glaze Salmon
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 salmon fillets, 8-ounces each
2 tablespoons canola oil

1. Whisk together honey, ancho and mustard in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.

2. Preheat grill pan or nonstick sauté pan over high heat. Brush salmon with oil on both sides and season with salt and pepper. Place salmon in the pan, skin side down and cook until golden brown and a crust has form, 2-3 minutes. Brush the top of the salmon with some of the glaze, flip over and continue cooking until a crust has formed and the salmon is cooked to medium doneness, 2 minutes longer.

3. Remove from the grill, glazed-sized up and brush with more of the glaze. Spoon some of the black bean sauce onto a plate, drizzle with some of the jalapeno crema and set the salmon in the center, glaze-side up.

Chocolate-Coconut Bread Pudding with Passion Fruit Sauce
(Serves 4)

Says Flay: "This decadent bread pudding combines two of my all-time favorite things -- chocolate and coconut. The bright flavor of the passion fruit sauce adds another layer of fabulous flavor."

1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate

Bring heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate, let sit for 1 minute then whisk until smooth. Set aside.

Bread Pudding
1/2 loaf brioche or challah, cut into 2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1-1/2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
1 tablespoons dark rum
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1/4 cup fine shredded desiccated coconut

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place bread cubes on a baking sheet, toss with the butter and bake until lightly golden brown, 12-15 minutes, turning once.

2. Combine coconut milk and heavy cream in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over high heat. Remove and let sit 1 minute. Whisk together sugar and eggs in a large bowl until pale. Whisk in the warm coconut-cream mixture, dark rum and coconut extract until combined. Add the bread cubes to the cream mixture and toss to coat completely. Let sit 5 minutes.

3. Transfer the mixture to an 8-inch baking dish and drizzle the top with the chocolate ganache and the coconut and bake for 25-30 minutes or until almost set. Remove and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature drizzle with the passion fruit sauce.

Passion Fruit Sauce
6 passion fruit
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons white rum

1. Cut passion fruit in half and scoop out centers (seeds also) into a small saucepan. Add the sugar, orange juice and rum and cook over high heat until sugar has melted and sauce has thickened, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and chill in the refrigerator.

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