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3 posts tagged salmon

Dinner tonight: chreime salmon

Chreime is a Jewish-Moroccan dish, a fish stew made with tomato puree and strongly flavoured with chilli and caraway seeds. In Israel, it is sometimes served on the Shabbat, having been left to cook on a very low heat overnight (or at least, so says Wikipedia — I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this). I came across this recipe on Bon Appetit via Flipboard a while back and I cooked it one day on a whim. It’s become one of my favourite things to make; I find the zesty caraway seeds very morish.

It seems to be more traditionally made with white fish, but I prefer a strong, meaty fish that can stand up to the tangy sauce. Hence salmon. I imagine monkfish or similar could work well, although I haven’t tried it.

I’ve made this a good few times now and I’ve adopted some deviations from the Bon Appetit recipe:

I use twice as much tomato purée (so, 4 Tbsp) and around 180 ml of water. You  can’t have enough of this tasty, tasty sauce.
I add around 1 tsp of whole coriander seeds in with the caraway seeds (so they are toasted and ground also).
I use more cayenne (to taste; I use about 3/8 tsp).
I don’t flour the salmon (doesn’t add much and makes extra mess to clean up).
Finally, I fry the salmon fillets skin-side-down (only) on a fairly high heat for four or so minutes before removing it to a plate. I reduce the heat and make the sauce, then add the salmon skin-side-up before simmering the sauce. This way you can crisp up the salmon skin and keep it (relatively) crispy, although it does soften a little from the steam once the lid goes on the pan. Next time I’m going to try putting the entire pan, without a lid, in a hot oven instead.

(Incidentally, if you want advice on pan-frying salmon technique, this Serious Eats article is fantastic.)

I typically serve this with couscous, to continue the North African theme. Today, I made a small salad; I finely diced cucumber, avocado, sundried tomatoes, spring onions, and three anchovy fillets, and dressed them with a 50/50 mix of lemon juice and olive oil whisked together. Seasoned, mixed the couscous in with the salad, poured over chicken stock according to the pack instruction’s specific quantity, and stirred well. I let it stand for five minutes and served. As you can probably see, I don’t really like bland starches — I’m the same with rice, where I cook pilafs almost to the exclusion of anything else — so I tend to pack as many flavourings in there as I can! But at the same time, I didn’t want anything too bold against the punchy salmon and chreime sauce, which is why I didn’t flavour the couscous with cinnamon or similar.

Dinner tonight: chreime salmon

Chreime is a Jewish-Moroccan dish, a fish stew made with tomato puree and strongly flavoured with chilli and caraway seeds. In Israel, it is sometimes served on the Shabbat, having been left to cook on a very low heat overnight (or at least, so says Wikipedia — I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this). I came across this recipe on Bon Appetit via Flipboard a while back and I cooked it one day on a whim. It’s become one of my favourite things to make; I find the zesty caraway seeds very morish.

It seems to be more traditionally made with white fish, but I prefer a strong, meaty fish that can stand up to the tangy sauce. Hence salmon. I imagine monkfish or similar could work well, although I haven’t tried it.

I’ve made this a good few times now and I’ve adopted some deviations from the Bon Appetit recipe:

  • I use twice as much tomato purée (so, 4 Tbsp) and around 180 ml of water. You can’t have enough of this tasty, tasty sauce.
  • I add around 1 tsp of whole coriander seeds in with the caraway seeds (so they are toasted and ground also).
  • I use more cayenne (to taste; I use about 3/8 tsp).
  • I don’t flour the salmon (doesn’t add much and makes extra mess to clean up).

Finally, I fry the salmon fillets skin-side-down (only) on a fairly high heat for four or so minutes before removing it to a plate. I reduce the heat and make the sauce, then add the salmon skin-side-up before simmering the sauce. This way you can crisp up the salmon skin and keep it (relatively) crispy, although it does soften a little from the steam once the lid goes on the pan. Next time I’m going to try putting the entire pan, without a lid, in a hot oven instead.

(Incidentally, if you want advice on pan-frying salmon technique, this Serious Eats article is fantastic.)

I typically serve this with couscous, to continue the North African theme. Today, I made a small salad; I finely diced cucumber, avocado, sundried tomatoes, spring onions, and three anchovy fillets, and dressed them with a 50/50 mix of lemon juice and olive oil whisked together. Seasoned, mixed the couscous in with the salad, poured over chicken stock according to the pack instruction’s specific quantity, and stirred well. I let it stand for five minutes and served. As you can probably see, I don’t really like bland starches — I’m the same with rice, where I cook pilafs almost to the exclusion of anything else — so I tend to pack as many flavourings in there as I can! But at the same time, I didn’t want anything too bold against the punchy salmon and chreime sauce, which is why I didn’t flavour the couscous with cinnamon or similar.

Pan-fried salmon fillet with roasted cauliflower

Best fried salmon I’ve made yet, hands down. Turns out, according to Serious Eats, I’ve been cooking it too hot (so the skin wasn’t crisped up by the time the flesh was cooked) and cooking it on both sides equally (which dries out the flesh). The one in the picture cooked for almost 10 minutes, skin side down, at low-ish heat, then just 1 minute the other way up to colour the outside. It was nicely medium-rare through the centre and the skin had a good texture. I think I had the heat a little too low, though; the recipe calls for six minutes, but it simply wasn’t cooked enough at that time.

First time I made cauliflower this way, based on a different Serious Eats recipe. Dissect a head into florets. Make a paste of 4 cloves of garlic, 4 anchovies, salt, and 1/2 tsp chilli flakes. Add 4 Tbsp olive oil, mix, and toss through the cauliflower. Roast at 230 deg C for 25-30 minutes. It was delicious and simple, so I’ll be making that again.

Pan-fried salmon fillet with roasted cauliflower

Best fried salmon I’ve made yet, hands down. Turns out, according to Serious Eats, I’ve been cooking it too hot (so the skin wasn’t crisped up by the time the flesh was cooked) and cooking it on both sides equally (which dries out the flesh). The one in the picture cooked for almost 10 minutes, skin side down, at low-ish heat, then just 1 minute the other way up to colour the outside. It was nicely medium-rare through the centre and the skin had a good texture. I think I had the heat a little too low, though; the recipe calls for six minutes, but it simply wasn’t cooked enough at that time.

First time I made cauliflower this way, based on a different Serious Eats recipe. Dissect a head into florets. Make a paste of 4 cloves of garlic, 4 anchovies, salt, and 1/2 tsp chilli flakes. Add 4 Tbsp olive oil, mix, and toss through the cauliflower. Roast at 230 deg C for 25-30 minutes. It was delicious and simple, so I’ll be making that again.

Scrambled eggs (with cream cheese and spring onions) and smoked salmon on a toasted English muffin.

I often make this (or variations on the theme) as a luxury weekend brunch. I prefer my scrambled eggs to be loose and creamy rather than fluffy and dry, so I break eggs directly into the frying pan (bonus — less work!), roughly scramble them with a spatula, and  then cook them slowly with infrequent stirring. Dairy (usually cream cheese or a little light cream) and seasoning goes in at the end, not the beginning — I’ve read that salt added beforehand can toughen the eggs if added beforehand, because it draws water out of the protein cells. The cold-from-the-fridge dairy also helps to arrest the cooking process too, stopping the eggs from drying out. —Rich

Scrambled eggs (with cream cheese and spring onions) and smoked salmon on a toasted English muffin.

I often make this (or variations on the theme) as a luxury weekend brunch. I prefer my scrambled eggs to be loose and creamy rather than fluffy and dry, so I break eggs directly into the frying pan (bonus — less work!), roughly scramble them with a spatula, and then cook them slowly with infrequent stirring. Dairy (usually cream cheese or a little light cream) and seasoning goes in at the end, not the beginning — I’ve read that salt added beforehand can toughen the eggs if added beforehand, because it draws water out of the protein cells. The cold-from-the-fridge dairy also helps to arrest the cooking process too, stopping the eggs from drying out. —Rich