Our Favorite Spa Recipes

This season, a taste of four very special resorts around the globe—with recipes, just in case.

Tom Schierlitz
OF 4

Capella Ixtapa Ixtapa, Mexico

Tomatillo Gazpacho with Seared Salmon

Somehow the resort town of Ixtapa, 150 miles northwest of Acapulco, on Mexico’s Pacific coast, has sailed under the radar of many Americans. That should change with the recent opening of Capella Ixtapa, a property in the new hotel group started by Horst Schulze, a former president of the Ritz-Carlton. Although Capella Ixtapa contains just 59 guest rooms and suites, it has an expansive 6,000-square-foot spa, where eight therapists make use of fresh and local ingredients like aloe, cacao, and lemongrass in their treatments. That fresh and local theme carries over to the kitchens at the hotel’s trio of restaurants. Executive chef Juan Licerio, who cooked at three stateside Ritz-Carltons before returning to his native Mexico, creates bright, healthful dishes that expand upon regional Mexican cuisine, spotlighting the area’s produce and the Pacific’s bounty. Rooms, from $395; dinner, $75; 877-247-6688; capellaixtapa.com.

Serves 4


1/2 cup cilantro, including stems
1 1/4 cups olive oil
2 pounds tomatillos (about 30)
2 english cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
1 avocado, pitted and coarsely chopped
3 large garlic cloves
1/4 cup red wine vinegar (plus more for seasoning)
salt, ground white pepper, and hot sauce to taste
3 slices white bread, cut into small cubes
3/4 pound skinless salmon, 1 inch thick
Guacamole made from 1 mashed avocado and 1 tbsp each of diced cucumber, green pepper, tomatillo, red onion, plus salt and ground white pepper to taste


1. In a blender, puree the cilantro and 3/4 cups of the olive oil until smooth. Pour into a glass, and let rest for about an hour, until the cilantro settles.

2. Coarsely chop 1 1/2 pounds of tomatillos and puree in a food processor until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve.

3. Peel, seed, and coarsely chop the remaining tomatillos and mince two cloves of garlic. Puree in a blender with the cucumbers, pepper, onion, avocado, vinegar, strained tomatillo juice, and 1/4 cup of the olive oil until smooth. Season to taste with salt, pepper, hot sauce, and vinegar. Refrigerate until chilled.

4. In a skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add a smashed clove of garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the bread cubes to the skillet and stir until golden brown. Remove from heat and let cool.

5. Make 2-inch rounds of salmon using a cookie cutter. In a nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add the salmon and sear one side.

6. To serve, set the croutons in the center of each bowl, then top with the salmon and guacamole. Pour the gazpacho into the bowls and dot with the cilantro oil.

Recipes adapted by Gillian Duffy for Departures readers