Neighborhood Kitchens

Orinoco's Panela-Marinated Salmon

This panela salmon recipe is an Orinoco special. Panela is an unrefined, whole cane sugar and a central ingredient to many Central and Latin American dishes. Orinoco uses panela in this dish to create a rich marinade for whole salmon steaks, which are then served over aji amerillo-creamed quinoa and jicama arugula salad.



6 8-oz. salmon steaks
2 lb. panela (raw sugar cane)
4 cups hot water
1/4 cup juniper berries
1/4 cup star anise
1/4 cup allspice
1/4 cup ground cinnamon sticks
1 cup dark rum
3 Tbs. aji amarillo (Peruvian yellow chili pepper)
2 cups heavy cream
1 sprig thyme
6 cloves garlic
1 cup quinoa
1/4 cup sundried tomato, diced
Bunch of cilantro
Olive oil
Lime juice


For marinade, dissolve the panela in hot water with the juniper berries, star anise, allspice, and ground cinnamon sticks. Let the mixture cool, then add the rum. Set aside to cool.

Slather each salmon steak with the marinade and let marinate for a minimum of 3 days in the refrigerator.

Once finished marinating, lightly season each salmon steak and place cook on a grill or in a sauté pan until medium rare.

For aji amarillo cream, simmer the aji amarillo, heavy cream, thyme, and garlic together for 5 minutes and then blend.

Boil quinoa for 3 minutes in water, then combine in a separate sauté pan with the aji amarillo cream and sundried tomatoes.

Plate quinoa mixture and add cilantro. Place the salmon on top and drizzle with olive oil and lime.

(Optional: Top with arugula/jicama salad, not featured in recipe.)

Serves: 6

NK_LogoOrinoco in Boston's South End is the current stop on a culinary journey that Chef Carlos Walter Rodriguez began when he was just 14, growing up in Caracas. He shared this recipe with us when he was featured as our guest on Neighborhood Kitchens.


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About Neighborhood Kitchens

Building on a 35-year history of producing Latino and multicultural programming, WGBH’s award winning La Plaza team has a new offering — Neighborhood Kitchens, a series about the exploration of culture through food. Every week the show offers a unique window into immigrant communities in New England.

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In each episode, host Margarita Martínez visits a different ethnic restaurant and learns three delicious recipes from the chef. She also explores the restaurant’s neighborhood, discovering hidden gems along the way. Join her as she learns about new ingredients, new cultures, and new neighborhoods. ¡Hasta pronto!

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Margarita's Neighborhood Visits

»Boston: Bristol Lounge
»Boston's South End: Orinoco, Teranga and Oishii
»Boston's Back Bay: Casa Romero
»Boston's North End: Taranta
»Roxbury: Merengue
»Boston's Beacon Hill: Scampo
»All Around Boston: Mei Mei Street Kitchens
»Cambridge: Muqueca, Oleana, and Sandrine's
Somerville: Dosa Temple
»Lawrence: Cafe Azteca
»Lowell: Simply Khmer

»Fresh from the Fish Market
»Jamaica Plain: Tres Gatos
»Dorchester: Pho Le and Cafe Polonia
»Medford: Bistro 5
»Portland, ME: Emilitsa
»Newport, RI: Tallulah on Thames
»Pawtucket, RI: Rasoi


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