Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Steamed Salmon with Charmoula

Mouthwatering...this isn't the overcooked, dry piece of salmon you're used to eating.  It's so much more.



I stumbled on this recipe in The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook: The Essential Recipe Collection For Today's Home Cook the other night when looking for "light" recipes my dad would enjoy for Father's Day.  I decided to stick with fish and this particular recipe stood out to me with all of the fresh herbs, lemon juice, and spice blend.  I decided to give it a try and let me tell you, it is super flavorful, quick, and delicious.

The cookbook gives a brief history on the "Charmoula" sauce:

Charmoula is a classic Moroccan preparation that can be used as a marinade or a sauce and is commonly served with fish.  It features many familiar Mediterranean ingredients, but extra doses of paprika and cumin give it a distinctly North African character.  To make the sauce without a food processor, mince the garlic or crush it through a press, chop the cilantro and parsley leaves finely, and combine with garlic and herbs in a glass or ceramic bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth.

Everyone, including my picky husband, loved the flavor of the sauce and said they would "definitely eat this again".  One thing to note, I didn't have time to marinate the fish beforehand and it still tasted great.

Steamed Salmon with Charmoula
Williams-Sonoma Cookbook, pg. 172
Makes 4 Servings

4 cloves garlic
1/3 cup firmly packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup firmly packed fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (I only had lime juice on hand and it still tastes bright and fresh)
1 1/2 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 center-cut salmon fillets, about 6oz. each, skin removed

To make the Charmoula, with the motor of a food processor running, add the garlic cloves one at a time until finely minced.  Then add the cilantro, parsley, lemon juice, 1 tsp. salt, the paprika, cumin, and cayenne to taste and puree until smooth.  Slowly add the oil, processing until smooth and emulsified.  Measure out 3 Tbsp of the sauce and reserve.  Put the remaining sauce in a serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate.  Put the salmon on a platter and rub both sides of the fish with the 3 Tbsp sauce.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerated for at least 2 hours.

Remove the fish and the remaining sauce from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.  Pour water to a depth of 1 inch in a large steamer pan or other large pot and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.  Set a steamer rack or other large, round rack over the simmering water.  Arrange the salmon fillets on a heatproof plate, place the plate on the rack, cover the pan tightly, and steam until the fish is firm to the touch and is barely opaque when tested with a knife, about 8 minutes {I brought the water to a boil, and then added the fish to a steamer basket that sat inside by soup pot and left the temp on medium-high, and worked just fine}.  Transfer the fish to warmed individual plates and top each fillet with a generous spoonful of the charmoula.  Pass the remaining sauce at the table.

I served the salmon over a couple spoonfuls of couscous and some grilled asparagus.  you decide to make this, please let me know what you think!

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