Spice-Crusted Salmon

Spice Crusted Salmon

I like cooking salmon, or any fish, really, for weeknight dinners because it cooks so quickly. And, to make it even easier, as with any quality seafood, the best way to prepare it is to keep the recipe simple and let the flavor of the fish come through.

This week I made a spice-crusted salmon using a mixture of some of my favorite spices. I used brown sugar in the mixture, which is what created that yummy caramelization you can see on the top of the salmon. To balance the hint of sweet from the brown sugar, I added fresh lemon juice and it gives the salmon a nice citrusy finish.

You can use the spice rub I made or create your own using spices you like.

Ingredients

  • 2 6-ounce salmon fillets
  • Olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp Spice Rub
    • ½ Tbsp cumin powder
      ½ Tbsp crushed coriander seeds
      1 tsp light brown sugar
      1 tsp sweet paprika
      ½ tsp salt
      ½ tsp pepper


Prepare

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix the ingredients for the spice rub in a small bowl and set aside. Place the salmon fillets on a prepared baking sheet. Brush olive oil on the top of the salmon and liberally sprinkle on the spice rub.

Depending on the thickness of your fillets, bake the salmon for about 15 minutes or until cooked through. When the salmon is ready, the skin will look opaque and the fish will flake easily with a fork. The best way to tell when salmon is cooked is to ensure the internal temperature reaches 145°F.

Finish each fillet with a spritz of fresh lemon juice and serve with your favorite side. I made a simple arugula salad and created a vinaigrette using the olive oil, remaining fresh lemon juice, and salt and pepper.

Chicken Curry With Brown Rice

For me, chicken curry is a go-to recipe in the winter months. Served with rice or naan, it’s a hearty, warming dish that’s perfect for this time of year.

Chicken CurryIngredients

  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1–inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 jalapeño, finely chopped and seeds removed (optional)
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup plain whole-milk yogurt, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Prepare

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add in the cumin seeds and allow them to cook until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Add the chopped onion and cook until browned, about 10 minutes.

In the meantime, chop the tomatoes and reserve ¼ cup. Set aside and place remaining tomatoes in a food processor or blender. Add the garlic cloves, ginger, jalapeno (if using), turmeric, coriander powder, chili powder, and garam masala and puree until uniform.

Once the onions have browned, add the tomato mixture plus the reserved ¼ cup of chopped tomatoes to pot and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Then add the chicken and mix to coat all the pieces of chicken with the tomato mixture. Cook for about 5-7 minutes.

Add the chicken stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium low and allow to simmer (uncovered) for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly.

Once chicken is cooked, remove from heat. Slowly stir in the yogurt and chopped cilantro and mix to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If desired, top with additional chopped cilantro for garnish and serve over rice or with naan.

Basil Shrimp Stir Fry

Basil Shrimp Stir Fry

I’ve been working on eating a little healthier these days.  Nothing crazy, just more clean, whole foods and less ingredients I can’t pronounce. (Sounds like a good filter for grocery shopping, no? Only buying items with ingredients that I know. Maybe I’ll try it one day I’m feeling extra disciplined and can talk myself into detouring the bakery section).

Anyway, here’s today’s recipe: Basil Shrimp Stir Fry. This dish is very simple. The key is to have all the ingredients prepped because the actual cooking goes pretty quickly.

To start, I chopped some of my favorite vegetables into pieces that were roughly the same size so everything cooked at the same rate. I used red bell pepper, cremini mushrooms, haricots verts, carrots, broccoli, and one jalapeño.

Stir Fry Veggies

After all the chopping and prep, the veggies looked so good that I seriously considered abandoning my stir fry plans and just making a simple vinaigrette and calling it a salad. Maybe next time.

Stir Fry Veggies.

Once I decided to continue with the stir fry, I heated some olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat and added two cloves of chopped garlic, one tablespoon of basil chiffonade, and one pound of peeled and deveined shrimp. I sautéed the shrimp for about 2 minutes until they became opaque and then removed them from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, I added a little more olive oil and increased the heat to high. When the oil was almost smoking, I added the bell pepper, carrots, and haricots verts. I cooked these for about 45 seconds and then pushed everything to the edges of the pan. Then, I added the broccoli, mushrooms, and the jalapeño and cooked for another minute or so.

I seasoned with salt and pepper and then added the shrimp back in. I cooked until everything was heated through, about a minute more and then plated the stir fry.

Basil Shrimp Stir Fry.

Tandoori Salmon and Purple Beans

Tandoori Salmon
I know you’re probably thinking, “Those beans aren’t purple, what kind of a food blogger would trick her readers like that?” I confess that it is a trick, but not one of mine. You see, the beans in the picture above started life as purple and then had a little costume change. Let me explain…

I saw these colorful beans at the farmers’ market last week and I couldn’t resist the purple ones. Mostly because of the vibrant hue, but also because I’ve read that purple vegetables have lots of antioxidants and I’m sure I can use more of those to balance all the non-purple food I eat.

Purple Beans

Anyway, I wanted to make tandoori salmon (yogurt-and-spice-marinated salmon) for dinner and mentally added these as the perfect side.

Fast forward to Saturday night’s dinner prep and, much to my dismay, the beautiful purple color changed as soon as they hit the hot water and my special beans turned into plain old green beans.

I consulted my good friend Google and found that purple beans are just green beans in disguise. The purple pigment is stored only in the outer layer of the beans and changes to green once heat is applied. Disappointing, yes, but still tasty.

Now, on to the recipe for the Tandoori Salmon.

Tandoori Salmon (Yogurt-and-Spice-Marinated Salmon), Recipe adapted from Saveur

Ingredients

2 salmon filets (I used the ones with the skin-on)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1  small piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 Tbs canola oil
1 Tbs red chili powder
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
1 tsp cardamom seeds, toasted
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garam masala
1 cup plain yogurt
Salt and pepper, to taste

Prepare

Place yogurt in a medium bowl. Add all spices, ginger, garlic and oil to yogurt. Mix to combine and season with salt. Pour mixture over salmon filets and use a rubber spatula or your hands to gently massage into flesh. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour and up to four hours.

Heat oven to 350 °F. Uncover salmon and remove any excess marinade. Bake until fish is cooked through, skin is opaque, and flakes easily or until internal temperature reads 145 °F. For my filets, this took about 35-40 minutes.

You can also make a raita to serve alongside the salmon. Raita is a Pakistani and Indian sauce or dip that has yogurt as a base and includes various spices, herbs, and finely chopped vegetables. There are many variations of raita that can include different spices like cumin, garam masala, and cayenne and many types of vegetables like cucumbers, red onion, and tomatoes.

A very simple raita recipe to use with this dish includes plain yogurt, garam masala, chopped cucumbers, chopped cilantro, chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and serve along with salmon.