Here’s a deliciously different way of serving fresh salmon that’s been marinated in an African spice paste called chermoula. If you can’t find chermoula, make your own (*simple instructions below) – it will taste even better.
Served over a lemony, minted couscous, this colorful and rather exotically fragrant dish is loaded with vegetables – and if you don’t make your own preserved lemon, use finely grated fresh lemon zest to give the couscous a perfumed tang.
Start by marinating the salmon for an hour or better yet, overnight if you have time.
Note: I used little purple potatoes because that’s what I had but for a brighter-looking dish, use baby white potatoes or the red-skinned variety.
WILD SALMON & VEGETABLE TAGINE WITH LEMONY COUSCOUS
5 fl oz (170g) of chermoula paste (recipe below)
1lb of wild salmon fillet, skinned and cut into chunks
11 oz (300g) of wholewheat couscous
A good grind of sea salt
The thinly sliced rind of 1/2 a preserved lemon – or the finely grated zest of half a fresh lemon
3 tablespoons of extra-v olive oil (for the couscous)
A small bunch of fresh mint, leaves stripped and chopped (save a few for a garnish)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
12 oz (340g) of baby potatoes, washed and halved
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
2 fat cloves of garlic, minced
14oz (400g) can of chopped tomatoes and their juice
A handful of pitted kalamata olives, halved
Spread the chermoula paste over the fish, cover and chill for at least 1 hr or overnight.
Make the couscous: put it in a bowl with a grind of sea salt and pour 14fl oz (400ml) of boiling water over. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes then fluff it with a fork. Add most of the lemon peel (or fresh lemon zest), the extra-v olive oil and chopped mint. Set it aside.
In a heavy sauté pan, heat the remaining oil over a medium heat then add the sliced onion, carrots, potatoes, cumin and a good grind of sea salt. Sauté for 5-6 minutes then add the garlic and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the canned tomatoes along with 10 fl oz (300ml) of water and the olives. Bring it to a boil then reduce to a gentle simmer for 20 minutes until the vegetables are slightly tender. Add the fish, gently tossing to combine, then simmer for another 5-6 minutes until everything is cooked through.
Check the seasoning and let it sit covered for another 5 minutes. Serve with the couscous plus a few mint leaves and the remaining lemon peel or zest scattered over.
*EASY CHERMOULA PASTE
Put the following ingredients in a blender and pulse until you have a thick, green-flecked paste:
250ml fresh cilantro (coriander leaf)
4 fat cloves of garlic
2 tbsp of white wine vinegar
The juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp of ground paprika
1 tbsp of ground cumin
1 red chili, seeds discarded
2 tbsp of olive oil