I've never been a huge fan of salmon, mostly because it is so often overcooked to the point of being stinky. You know what I'm talking about - that oily fishy smell that clings to the inside of your nose and seems to take forever to fade. But I love the idea of salmon, so when ButcherBox* was offering a special on Alaskan Sockeye Salmon a while ago, I decided it was time to get over my salmon aversion.
The following recipe has since become one of my absolute favorite ways to prepare salmon and is reason enough to purchase some A Bite of Good Five-Chile Harissa Spice Blend (get yours here).
Harissa-Spiced Salmon and Romanesco Cauliflower with Chermoula
2 skin-on salmon fillets (preferably Sockeye)
Extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tablespoons Five-Chile Harissa Spice Blend (get yours here)
1 medium head romanesco cauliflower (substitute cauliflower, broccoli, or brussels sprouts if you can't find romanesco), cut into bite-sized florets
1 medium yellow onion, cut into wedges
1 lemon, sliced into rings
8 cloves garlic (4 cloves minced, 4 cloves whole)
1/2 cup chopped fresh tender herbs (such as cilantro, flat-leaf parsley, and basil)
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon juice
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss romanesco, onion, lemon slices, and 4 whole garlic cloves in a small amount of olive oil and sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons of Five-Chile Harissa Spice Blend. Spread vegetables on a sheet tray and roast 18-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the romanesco is slightly charred and cooked through.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the fresh herbs, minced garlic, paprika, ginger, cumin, lemon zest and juice and red pepper flakes. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil so that you have a chunky but sauce-like consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a medium cast iron skillet (I love this one) over medium-high heat. Rub the salmon with a small amount of olive oil and sprinkle both sides with the remaining Five-Chile Harissa Spice Blend. Once your skillet is hot add about a tablespoon of oil to the skillet and swirl to cover, and place the salmon fillets skin-side down in the skillet. DO NOT FUTZ WITH THE FISH. You will see the flesh of the salmon start to change color from the bottom as it cooks. When that color is just past halfway up the fish, check to see if you can easily lift up a corner of the fillets without the skin sticking to the skillet. If the skin sticks at all, leave it alone and let it continue to cook. Once the fish releases easily from the pan, flip the fillets over onto the flesh side and cook about 30 seconds to finish cooking the fish through.
Serve the salmon and roasted vegetables over rice or cous cous and topped with chermoula.
* ButcherBox is a meat subscription service that sources premium meats, including grass-fed (and finished!) beef, heritage pork, and organic free-range chicken (and occasionally other proteins like Alaskan Sockeye Salmon) and delivers them to your door. I joined ButcherBox a couple of years ago and have never turned back. If you're interested in checking it out for yourself, use my referral code to get $15 off your first order.