During yesterday’s supermarket binge, I got a few extra salmon steaks to last me through the weekend. Still plowing my way through the work pile, I should give myself credit for having enough foresight to pick an easy fish to cook. But really, I just simply love salmon.
Tonight’s dinner came courtesy of Mark Bittman’s Four-Spice Salmon. His recipe calls for the use of fresh ground spices – cumin, coriander, nutmeg, and a small dash of ground cloves. I omitted the cloves as they were the only things missing from my spice rack. But everything else got tossed into the trusty mortar and pestle. I went to work, grinding and blending my spice rub. The aromatic notes released from the fresh spices were fragrant and wonderful. I now understood Bittman’s emphasis on freshness, and his strong discouragement in the use of pre-ground mixes, that “it’s a shame to waste good salmon by coating it with stale, insipid spices.”
Ingredients: (enough for 4 salmon steaks)
- 4 6-ounce, skinned salmon fillets
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds or ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon whole or ground cloves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seed or ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil, grape seed or other neutral oil, or clarified butter
Season salmon on both sides with salt and pepper. Combine spices and grind into a coarse powder. Press some of the spice mixture onto the tops of the fillets, or both sides for extra flavor.
Next, add oil or butter to a large skillet and heat over medium-high temperature. Once the oil begins to shimmer, place fillets into the pan, coated side down. Cook for 2-3 minutes until browned on the bottom. Turn the salmon over and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Once finished, I laid my salmon steak (which I had pre-cut before cooking into 1.5 inch wide mini-steaks) onto a bed of raw spinach and carrots. The salmon was so flavourful that there was no need for any additional dressing. The spinach nicely wilted just a bit from the heat of the fillets and the carrots added some sweetness, balancing well with the cumin and coriander.