Salmon in Chermoula with Couscous

Some time ago, American Express used to send me Food and Wine cookbooks and I just stacked them in a corner, never really using them for inspiration.  At some point in the Fall, I started leafing through and have since found some amazing recipes that we’ve been cooking over and over again.  One of these has been this delicious salmon recipe.

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We LOVE salmon – or rather, the “ocean trout” that we get at our grocery store that happens to look like salmon and in my opinion actually tastes better than salmon.  So when we found this Michael Solomonov recipe for salmon in our book (surprising that it is *not* in our Zahav book) we had to try it!

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The mushroom sauce is perhaps not the prettiest thing, but oh my goodness so delicious.  As they say, can’t judge taste by its looks!

INGREDIENTS

SALMON
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Four 5-ounce skinless salmon fillets
TAHINI SAUCE
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped dill
  • Kosher salt
COUSCOUS
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous (6 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped Spanish onion
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water

Directions

  1. PREPARE THE SALMONIn a blender, puree the cilantro, canola oil, garlic, ginger, paprika, salt, turmeric and cumin until smooth. Pour the marinade into a resealable plastic bag, add the salmon and seal the bag. Turn to coat the fish and refrigerate overnight.
  2. MAKE THE TAHINI SAUCEIn a small skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the mushrooms are well browned, 10 minutes. Scrape the mushrooms and garlic into a blender and let cool. Add the tahini, lemon juice and 1/3 cup of water and puree until smooth. Stir in the dill and season with salt.
  3. PREPARE THE COUSCOUSIn a medium saucepan, toast the couscous over moderate heat, tossing, until golden, 10 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl. In the same saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and a pinch each of cinnamon and salt and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and just starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Add the toasted couscous and cook for 1 minute, stirring, then stir in the tomato puree. Add the warm water 1/2 cup at a time and stir constantly over moderately low heat, allowing the liquid to be absorbed between additions, until the couscous is al dente, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and keep warm; add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water if the couscous seems dry.
  4. PREPARE THE COUSCOUSLight a grill or preheat a grill pan. Scrape the marinade off the salmon, season the fish with salt and grill over high heat, turning once, until lightly charred and nearly cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Spoon the couscous onto plates, top with the salmon, drizzle with the tahini sauce and serve.

MAKE AHEAD

The tahini sauce can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.

SUGGESTED PAIRING

Peach-scented, full-bodied French white like Viognier.

From Food and Wine, Michael Solomonov’s Salmon in Chermoula

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