Charmoula-Spiced Salmon with Za’atar Roasted Vegetables

I am always thrilled to make a healthy and flavorful dish that incorporates TONS of vegetables from my CSA share. This recipe seemed to be created for the box I had just received which contained kohlrabi, baby bok choy, parsley, and cilantro. This dish was loaded with wonderful spices as well. It truly was one of the best salmon dishes I’ve ever prepared.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Chef Jared Wentworth of Chicago’s Longman & Eagle. I used one large piece of salmon instead of fillets, grilled the fish instead of pan-cooking, modified the oven temperature, used potatoes and kohlrabi instead of beets, whole carrots instead of baby carrots, and modified the proportions in the sauce. It was beyond delicious!

For the Roasted Vegetables:
  • 1/2 pound red potatoes (5) or baby golden beets, scrubbed and quartered
  • 1-2 kohlrabi, peeled and cut into medium-pieces (I used 1 1/2)
  • 3 large carrots, halved lengthwise and quartered
  • 1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons za’atar
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 pound baby bok choy, chopped into ribbons (I used 9 heads)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
For the Charmoula
:
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 4 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
For the Salmon:
  • 1 1/3 pound whole wild salmon fillet (or four 5- to 6-ounce salmon fillets)
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, optional (I omitted it)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
To Make the Vegetables:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°, preferably on convection roast.
  2. On two large rimmed baking sheets, toss the beets or potatoes, kohlrabi, carrots and mushrooms with the olive oil and za’atar and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Immediately transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and fold in the bok choy until just wilted.
  5. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

To Make the Charmoula:

  1. In a food processor, combine everything except the salt and pepper and puree until nearly smooth. (I used a mini-food processor.)
  2. Scrape into a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper.

To Make the Salmon:

  1. Season the fish with coarse salt and black pepper.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the ground coriander and cumin with the paprika and crushed red pepper. Season the salmon with the spice mixture.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat a grill set to moderate heat.
  4. Place the fish on the hot grill skin side down and press gently with a spatula to flatten. Cook the fish over moderate heat until the skin is golden, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Flip the fish and cook until medium within, about 3 minutes longer.
  6. Serve the fish topped with charmoula over the roasted vegetables. Serve extra charmoula on the side, as desired.

Note: The charmoula can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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Grilled Swordfish with Za’atar Salsa Verde

I love a fresh herb sauce. This Middle Eastern variation on a classic salsa verde brightened up the grilled fish. We ate it over brown Basmati rice with sautéed collard greens and green kale on the side.

This dish was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Alon Shaya. I used homemade za’atar. I also used swordfish in lieu of red snapper, grilling instead of broiling, and modified the proportions in the salsa verde. Healthy and tasty. 🙂

Yield: Serves 2

  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 2 6-ounce swordfish steaks, patted dry
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ⅓ cup loosely packed cilantro, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup loosely packed parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated or chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoons za’atar
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  1. Toast pine nuts in a 400 degree oven (I used a toaster oven.) or a dry small skillet over medium-low heat, tossing often, until golden and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Let cool. Coarsely chop, if desired.
  2. Heat a gas grill or broiler. Season fish with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with coriander.
  3. Drizzle 1 T oil onto one side of the fish, flip and repeat on the opposite side. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Grill fish until cooked through, about 3-4 min per side for a 1″ thick steak. (Alternatively, place fish on a small rimmed baking sheet and broil until cooked through, about 8–10 minutes.)
  5. Meanwhile, mix together cilantro, parsley, garlic, za’atar, red pepper flakes, and remaining 4 T olive oil in a mini food processor or small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Stir lemon juice and pine nuts into salsa verde and spoon over fish.

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Turkish-Spiced Halibut Skewers With Yogurt Sauce

Many people grill year-round, but our grill hibernates during the winter. 😦 Thankfully, it is unseasonably warm here this week (Yay!), so I am going to share a couple of belated grilling recipes.

This first recipe is an adaptation of a Turkish dish typically made with local swordfish and fresh bay leaves. This version, from David Tanis of The New York Times, uses firm-fleshed halibut with thinly sliced lemons and onions. The fish is only marinated for an hour, grilled, and served with a wonderful and fresh cucumber-yogurt sauce.

We ate the skewers with hummus, warm naan, Israeli couscous, and steamed spinach on the side. If grilling season is over for you, this dish can easily be replicated using a broiler. Great!

  • 1 ½ pounds boneless halibut or other firm-fleshed fish
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and coarsely ground
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and coarsely ground
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small lemon, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, plus 1 garlic clove, grated or smashed to a paste
  • 8 bay leaves
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 small cucumber, about 2 ounces, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

  1. Cut halibut into large chunks of equal size and thread onto skewers. You should have 4 kebabs weighing about 6 ounces each.
  2. Lay them in a shallow dish. Season on both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. In a mixing bowl, put cumin, coriander, paprika, red pepper flakes, onion, lemon, minced garlic and bay leaves. Add olive oil and stir together.
  4. Spoon mixture over fish skewers and leave to marinate for at least 1 hour.
  5. Put yogurt in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, then add garlic paste, cayenne and cucumber.
  6. Mix mint, dill and parsley together, add half to yogurt mixture, and reserve the rest. Stir to combine. Set aside.
  7. Heat a grill or broiler. When it is hot, cook skewers for about 2 minutes per side, until just opaque. (Leave some lemon, onion and bay leaf clinging to fish, so they char a bit.)
  8. Transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with remaining herb mixture, if desired. Serve with yogurt sauce on the side.

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North African Meatballs

This ultra-flavorful dish is based upon a version of North African meatballs served in France, where they are called boulettes. Both the sauce and the meatballs are loaded with spices. SO fragrant and delicious.

This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. I used ground turkey instead of beef or lamb and increased the garlic. I also forgot to include the raisins in my couscous! We ate it with steamed spinach on the side but it would also be incredible served with roasted tomatoes or roasted cauliflower- or all of the above. Next time!

I’m sharing this dish (belatedly, again) at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #111 this week, co-hosted by Naina @ Spice in the City and Julianna @ Foodie on Board. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 6

For the Saffron Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 cups finely diced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1 inch piece cinnamon stick
  • large pinch saffron, crumbled
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock, vegetable broth, or water

For the Meatballs:

  • 1 1/2 cups cubed day-old firm white bread
  • 1 cup milk (I used 1 percent)
  • 1 1/4 pound ground beef, lamb, or turkey
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ⅛ tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 3 T chopped parsley
  • 3 T chopped cilantro
  • 3 T finely chopped scallion
  • all-purpose flour, for dusting
  • olive oil or vegetable oil

For the Couscous:

  • 1 cup giant couscous, m’hamsa, or medium couscous
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • ½ cup golden raisins, soaked in hot water to soften, then drained
  • coarse salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Make the Sauce:

  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a wide, heavy bottomed saucepan. Add onion and cook without browning until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, tomato paste, cinnamon and saffron, and stir well to incorporate.
  3. Season generously with salt and pepper, and allow to sizzle for 1 minute more.
  4. Add stock and simmer gently for 5 minutes. May be made several hours in advance, up to a day.

Make the Meatballs:

  1. Put bread cubes and milk in a small bowl. Leave bread to soak until softened, about 5 minutes, then squeeze dry.
  2. In a mixing bowl, put squeezed-out bread, ground meat and egg.
  3. Add salt, pepper, garlic, nutmeg, ginger, turmeric, paprika, cayenne, cloves, coriander and cumin. Mix well with hands to distribute seasoning.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons each of parsley, cilantro and scallion, and knead for a minute. May be prepared several hours in advance, up to a day.
  5. With hands or a cookie scoop, roll mixture into small round balls about the size of a quarter.
  6. Dust meatballs lightly with flour. (I gently rolled the meatballs in the flour as I lifted them up to place in the pan.)
  7. Heat a few tablespoons of oil, or a quarter-inch depth, over medium-high heat and fry meatballs until barely browned, about 2 minutes per side. Drain and blot on paper towel.
  8. Simmer meatballs in saffron-tomato sauce, covered, over medium heat for about 20 minutes, until tender.

Meanwhile, Make the Couscous:

  1. Cook according to package directions, fluff gently and stir in butter and raisins.
  2. Season with salt and cinnamon, and toss well.

To Serve:

  1. Garnish meatballs with remaining parsley, cilantro and scallion. Serve with couscous and roasted tomatoes, roasted cauliflower, or steamed greens, as desired.

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Mushroom-Spinach Soup with Middle Eastern Spices

I cannot tell you how fabulous my house smelled while this soup was cooking! A neighbor stopped by while it was on the stove and commented that our house had wonderful karma. Of course that’s true… but I also think the wonderful spices in the air helped. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used 1 1/2 pounds of cremini mushrooms and increased the amount of spinach. I also removed half of the soup from the pot, puréed the remaining soup, and then returned the solids to incorporate. It was earthy and hearty.

I added the juice of one lime which was absolutely perfect for me- very bright and delicious. My family thought is was a little heavy with lime juice. Next time, I would add the juice of one half of a lime and serve it with additional lime wedges on the side. (for me!)

Yield: 6 servings

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds mixed mushrooms (such as cremini, oyster, chanterelles and shiitake), chopped
  • ½ pound shallots, finely diced (I used a food processor.)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground allspice (I used freshly ground.)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons coarse salt, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces (generous!) baby spinach
  • fresh lime juice, to taste
  • plain yogurt or Greek yogurt, for serving, optional
  1. Heat 3 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add half the mushrooms and half the shallots; cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are well browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to a bowl and repeat with the olive oil, mushrooms and shallots.
  2. Return all mushrooms to the pot and stir in tomato paste, thyme, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and allspice; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Stir in 5 cups water, the salt and the black pepper. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat and cook gently for 20 minutes.
  4. Stir in baby spinach and let cook until just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Remove half of the soup from the pot and reserve.
  6. Using an immersion blender or food processor, coarsely purée the remaining soup. Incorporate the unpuréed soup.
  7. Mix in lime juice. Thin with water, as needed.
  8. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
  9. Serve with dollops of yogurt and/or lime wedges, as desired.

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Pressure Cooker Mushroom Chili

Yum! Using dried beans makes such a textural difference in this tasty chili. Using a pressure cooker to expedite the cooking of the dried beans is genius! They were cooked perfectly and added a wonderful contrast to the softer “meaty” mushrooms in the finished dish.

The spiciness of the red pepper flakes is magnified in the pressure cooker- I reduced the amount suggested in the original recipe and the spice level (medium?) was just right for our crowd. This recipe was adapted from Hip Pressure Cooking: Fast, Fresh, and Flavorful by Laura D.A. Pazzaglia, founder of hippressurecooking.com. The recipe can easily be made without the bacon to be vegetarian by using more vegetable oil in lieu of bacon fat. We ate it with cornbread and green salad on the side. A perfect cold weather meal- or for the Superbowl!

I am bringing this tasty bowl to share with my friends at the Novice Gardener for Fiesta Friday #51! Enjoy!!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Time: 1 to 1 1/2 hours, plus soaking beans overnight

IMG_2123

  • 2 T canola oil (4 T if using instead of bacon fat)
  • 7 oz bacon or pancetta, chopped, optional
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 8 oz white button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • 24 oz cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • 2 T ground cumin
  • 2 T ground coriander
  • 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups beer (I used New Castle)
  • 28 oz canned chopped tomatoes with juices
  • 2 cups dried pinto beans, soaked overnight (up to 24 hours), rinsed, and drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 tsp coarse salt, or to taste
  • 1 large bunch of cilantro, stems removed, minced, for serving
  • sour cream, for serving, optional
  1. Cover the dried beans with several inches of water in a large bowl. Soak overnight. (or up to 24 hours)
  2. Heat the pressure cooker on medium heat; add the oil and heat briefly. Add the bacon and sauté until almost crispy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the onion and celery; sauté until the onion has softened, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add the sliced mushrooms; sauté, stirring occasionally, until browned and about half of the juices have evaporated, 5 minutes or longer.
  5. Sprinkle the cumin, coriander, cocoa powder, and red pepper flakes over the mixture and stir to combine. Saute for 1 minute more to lightly toast the spices.
  6. Stir in the beer to deglaze the pan.
  7. Add the tomatoes, beans, and bay leaf and mix well.
  8. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook at high pressure for 25 minutes.
  9. Turn off the heat and release the pressure by “Natural Release” (letting it sit off the heat) as it continues to cook. (It took my pressure cooker 20 minutes to release the pressure.)
  10. Open the lid and remove and discard the bay leaf. Add the salt; taste and adjust the seasonings.
  11. Ladle the chili into individual bowls and garnish with sour cream and/or cilantro, as desired.

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Shish Taouk: Middle Eastern Chicken Kebabs

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These kebabs were the focal point of an AMAZING meal. We ate the grilled kebab meat wrapped in warm naan, doused with tzatziki, sprinkled with red onion, with Turkish bulgur pilaf and green salad on the side. I felt like I was in our favorite Middle Eastern restaurant- only better! 🙂 I used naan because the pita bread served in our favorite restaurant is more similar to naan than store-bought pita. I also modified my gold-standard tzatziki recipe by thinly slicing the cucumber into rounds using a mandolin; my mother-in-law recently served tzatziki this way and not only was it delicious, the presentation was wonderful.

I had planned to try this dish ever since seeing a post about it on Savory and Sweet Food, but I had trouble finding sumac. I couldn’t believe my great fortune when sumac appeared in the “new item” section at Trader Joe’s! No wonder I am such a fan of their store. 🙂 This recipe was inspired by savoryandsweetfood.com, mamaslebanesekitchen.com, and saveur.com. I used a gas grill, chicken thighs rather than chicken breasts, substituted fresh dill for half of the fresh mint, and modified the spice blend. DELICIOUS!!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or boneless, skinless chicken breasts), about 10 thighs
  • 15 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 16 fresh mint leaves
  • 3 to 4 large sprigs of fresh dill
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 T ground coriander
  • 1 T sumac
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt, to taste
  • 6 T non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • pita bread or naan, for serving
  • tzatziki, for serving
  • sliced or diced red onion, for serving, optional
  • lettuce, tomatoes, for serving, optional
  1. Cut the chicken into small cubes.
  2. In a food processor, make a paste of the garlic, herbs, lemon juice, spices, tomato paste, pepper, and olive oil.
  3. Add the Greek yogurt to the paste. Mix well. Taste for salt.
  4. In a glass bowl or baking dish, marinate the chicken pieces in this mixture and refrigerate for about 2-3 hours.
  5. Then skewer the chicken on approximately eight 10-inch metal skewers.
  6. Grill over medium heat, turning, until chicken is cooked through and slightly charred, 10–12 minutes.
  7. To serve: Remove from skewer onto warm bread. Dress with tzatziki, sprinkle with red onions, shredded lettuce, and/or tomatoes as desired.

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