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Baked Salmon with Charmoula

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Recipe adopted from Williams-Sonoma's Sauce.


Salmon is commonly served with a cream based sauce accompanied with lemon and dill, but for this recipe, a charmoula is used.  Charmoula is a marinade or sauce of Moroccan descent that uses a combination of fresh herbs and spices from the area.  Along with the well known health benefits of salmon, the fact that this dish requires only minutes of actual prep work makes it a winner in my book.

INGREDIENTS:

4 cloves garlic
1/3 cup firmly packed fresh cilantro
1/3 cup firmly packed fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (juice from one large lemon)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 center-cut salmon fillets, 6 ounces each

DIRECTIONS:

Using a food processor, add the garlic cloves, followed by the cilantro, lemon juice, parsley, salt, paprika, cumin, and cayenne, and puree until smooth.  Next, create an emulsion by very slowly adding the olive oil while the food processor is running.  By feeding in the oil at a slow rate, you are making it easier to break the oil into microscopic charged droplets that will be suspended in the mixture, giving the charmoula its desired consistency.  If you've ever made a vinaigrette, mayonnaise, or Hollandaise sauce, you're already an expert with the process.

Once the charmoula is ready, coat the salmon fillets in 3 tablespoons of the marinade.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Remove the salmon from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 350° F.  This will give just enough time for the salmon to come to room temperature.

Line a rimmed sheet pan with foil, lightly coat with olive oil, and evenly space the salmon fillets on the pan.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and flaky.  Top each fillet with charmoula, and serve.

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