Hey all you people! Welcome back. As always…it’s been a minute.
But since last time, I had a wedding! And it was perfect and amazing and everything any girl could want their wedding to be. Pics for interested parties:
I am so incredibly proud of this event. I got to do most everything I wanted, and the things I couldn’t do were just background noise to joining my best friend in the game of life for forever. I was so honored by everyone who helped me make this vision I’ve had my whole life into a reality. It really was perfect.
So now that you’ve scrolled past my cheesy wedding gush, let’s talk FOOD.
The recipe I have for you today is a quick lunch I pulled together for myself after a 12 hour fast. Crispy skin salmon has become one of my favorite at-home gourmet things I treat myself with. If you’re one of those people who pulls the skin off your salmon, SHAME UPON YOU. Eat it. It’s delicious. And paired with the cool, smokey, refreshing aioli, I think y’all are gonna like this one. Harissa is a fun ingredient to play with, we became friends a little while ago, and I’m so excited to finally introduce you!
Harissa is a spice blend hailing from North Africa. Like many regional spice blends (Herbs de Provence, Za’tar, & Raz al Hanout) there are as many variations as there are spice shops, but the basics remain constant. The essence of Harissa is the combination of sumac, chilies, and garlic. The specific blend I use hails from World Market, and includes an incredibly specific blend of: chilies, spices, sumac, & garlic. Very helpful, I know.
Basically what you need to know about this blend’s flavor profile is that it’s similar to that chili powder buried in the back of your pantry you bought to make tacos 6 years ago, but with some serious depth. It tastes like what I imagine an open air market smells like, with spices floating in the air, overwhelming and subtle all at once. It’s just way better than american chili powder, trust me.
If you binge on Food Network like I used to when I had cable, you may have seen this ingredient on Chopped or Iron Chef and totally missed it. It’s sometimes in a paste, but personally, I prefer the powder. The shelf life is longer, and your options are far less limited. Pastes take up prime real estate in the fridge, and they go bad within a week or so of opening. The powder is also much easier to find. As I mentioned above, I purchased mine from World Market (AKA the Happiest Place on Earth) for a tagine recipe from one of my favorite cook books. I have been sneaking this stuff into meal preps and dinners ever since! I promise, you’ll love having this spice in your arsenal. It’s one of my absolute favorite things to have around.
The salmon in this recipe is loosely inspired by one of those meal kits you get in the mail. They had this method of cooking salmon I had never tried before, but totally made sense! And y’all know I’m a sucker for new methods. To preface, I very recently took a Masterclass by Gordon Ramsey. And if you know anything about him, you know salmon is kind of his jam. (Obviously understated.) And his method is to start with the skin down in a screaming hot pan for a good hard sear, then finish with the skin up and baste with butter to further crisp up the skin. It is fairly labor intensive, but it is SERIOUSLY good. Like, seriously good. Best salmon I have ever had. Ever. And I like salmon. BUT, this certain meal kit has you preheat your oven to 400, start your salmon in the pan skin side UP, flip it, then bake it in the oven for like 8 minutes. Crispy skin with about a quarter of the work. The oven and the pan work together to create the texture with no basting.
And since this was a lunch for me, I prefer to expend as little energy as possible. So for this recipe, you basically put everything in the oven, and in 20 minutes you have a gourmet lunch. Sound too good to be true? Nah. It’s all about method. Gourmet is completely subjective, and doesn’t necessarily mean you stood over a salmon fillet for 10 minutes basting it. The oven is your friend. Become acquainted. You’ll be fast friends, I promise.
Other notes on this recipe are that it is made for one person, but scaling it is super easy. Just do all the salmon at once, and use a bigger pan for your broccoli. Easy! Lastly, there are a few instructions not to wash the bowl between seasoning different elements, this allows us not to leave a bunch of the expensive spices in the bowl just to be washed down the drain. Really try to get the most out of your seasoning. It will save you in the long run.
Ok guys, here you go:
Moroccan Blackened Salmon
with Harissa Broccoli & Smokey Garlic Paprika Aioli
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1/2 cup Mayo (homemade or high quality store bought)
- 1 1/2 tsp Harissa Powder
- 1 tsp Raz al Hanout
- 1 Head of Broccoli (trimmed into florets)
- 2 Tbsp Olive oil or Grapeseed oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Salmon fillet
- 1/2 tsp Harissa
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 Tbsp Olive oil or Grapeseed oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F
Combine aioli ingredients, cover, and refrigerate until time to plate.
Toss broccoli with oil and spices in a medium prep bowl. DO NOT WASH BOWL. Spread on to a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until desired tenderness is reached.
While broccoli is cooking, heat a cast iron skillet over medium high. Do not add your oil until your pan is hot. Do not add your oil until you can feel intense heat on the back of your hand while hovering over the center.
While your pan is heating, remove salmon from it’s package and pat dry. Place fillet in the bowl used for the broccoli along with the remaining spices and 1 Tbsp of oil. Toss and rub evenly to coat. Get as much of the seasoning out of the bowl as possible.
Once your pan is hot and you are ready to cook the fish, add the last 1 Tbsp of oil. Lay salmon in pan away from you, skin side UP. Sear for 4 minutes. Flip, and immediately move pan to the oven. Bake for about 8 minutes or until it reaches your preferred level of doneness.
To plate, place a dollop of sauce on one side of the plate using a spoon, and drag it across in one sweeping motion. Place salmon on top of sauce with crispy skin up. Plate broccoli alongside.
And please, let me know how it turned out for you! I am always trying to perfect my recipe writing. Feedback is much appreciated!