This Portuguese fantasy is usually made with red mullet, but we have substituted more readily available salmon. Setubal is known for their bitter oranges. The original sauce was a wine-and-orange-flavored butter and the fish was covered with orange slices and baked. We like to rub the fish with orange zest, salt, and sugar and cure it for a few hours before grilling it. We have kept the original orange slices and added a little mint for garnish, although you could use cilantro for the Portuguese love both herbs. The first few times we served this we made the wine-and-orange butter, but then we tried it with an orange aioli seasoned with black pepper. That got the thumbs-up sign from our guests. Hope you agree.
To cure the salmon, mix the salt, sugar, orange zest, and pepper; rub over both sides of the salmon fillets. Refrigerate about 3 hours.
For the aioli, whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice in a mixing bowl or process with pulses in a food processor until blended. Gradually whisk or beat in the oil. The mixture should be thick and emulsified. Whisk or beat in the garlic,
Heat the grill or broiler. Brush the fish fillets with a little olive oil. Broil or grill until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes each side. Place on serving plates and top with dollops of the aioli. Garnish with orange slices and herb of choice.
© 1998 Joyce Goldstein. All rights reserved.