The heat is going down, yesterday it barely hovered around 100 degrees. To us, after temperatures of 117, it almost seems balmy. Almost. I still don't feel like cooking, but I'm tired of eating cold food. So this is a perfect meal for me right now. It's delicious, extremely quick to prepare, and it didn't heat up my kitchen at all. Plus, it's healthy and counteracts the fried PB and banana sandwich from two days ago. I'm sure the omega-3 from the salmon and the saturated fat from the sandwich are doing battle in my arteries right now. This meal is full of cumin, coriander, fennel and dill, so it certainly qualifies for Weekend Herb Blogging. WHB was created by the talented and busy Kalyn, who is at the Blogher conference as I write this. Hope you're having fun Kalyn! Stop by her blog, Kalyn's Kitchen and see the other herb bloggers in action.
Both Bob and I enjoyed this meal very much. The herb rub on the salmon is wonderful and would work on chicken too. It's sweet/salty and the herbs are among my favorites, particularly the cumin. Coriander seeds grow up into cilantro, which is the herb I use the most in my kitchen. I hesitate to mention that fennel has a slight licorice taste because that puts some people off. Don't let that stop you from using it in this recipe. It works very well with the floral taste of the coriander and the smokey cumin, providing a little sweetness to the rub.
To go with the salmon I made cucumber salad dressed with a dilled vinaigrette so good, I often eat a few spoonfuls of it straight up. This meal was extremely easy and quick to prepare, which I certainly appreciated. You do need to let the salmon sit in the fridge for an hour, but the actual work on both dishes is minimal. And the resulting meal is one of my favorites. Quick, easy, delicious. What more could you ask for?
Toasting the spices in a dry fry pan before grinding intensifies their flavor. Keep a close eye on them and stir constantly so they don’t burn.
1 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt (if you use regular salt, use less of it, as it's more concentrated than kosher)
2 salmon fillets, each 6 to 8 oz., with skin intact,
pin bones removed
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Heat a small fry pan over medium-high heat. Put the coriander, cumin and fennel seeds in the pan and toast, stirring constantly, until golden brown and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the spices to a spice grinder or a mortar. Grind the spices using the grinder or a pestle. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the brown sugar and salt.
Place the salmon, skin side down, on a plate and rub the top of each fillet with the spice mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat an oven to 400°F.
In a large ovenproof fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until almost smoking. Place the salmon, skin side up, in the pan and sear for 2 minutes. Carefully turn the salmon over and transfer the pan to the oven. Cook until the fish is golden brown underneath and the flesh is opaque throughout, 5 to 6 minutes.
OR-this the way I did it
Place the salmon, skin side up, in the pan and sear for 2-3 minutes, until the salmon has browned nicely. Check several time by lifting the fish up slightly to see that it's not burning. Flip the salmon over, skin side down, and continue cooking for about 4-5 minutes more until done. The thickness of your fish will com into play here. Check to see if it's done to your liking, by using the tip of a knife to look into the center of the salmon. I like mine translucent.
Transfer the salmon to warmed plates and serve immediately. Serves 2.
Cucumber Salad with Dill (Williams Sonoma)
Salt, to taste
3 garlic cloves
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs. minced fresh dill
Freshly ground white pepper, to taste
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Peel and thinly slice the cucumbers,
Pass the garlic cloves through a garlic press into a small bowl. Add the yogurt, lemon juice, dill, salt and white pepper and stir until well mixed. Add the olive oil and stir vigorously until blended.
Place the drained cucumber slices in a salad bowl, pour the dressing over the top and toss gently. Refrigerate for about 1 hour to allow the flavors to marry, then serve. Serves 4.
Note: You can serve the cucumbers right away, but since the salmon will need to wait an hour to let the herbs permeate it, this could easily work with the salmon prep.