Indian Spiced Salmon with Couscous Salad

I’m just home from tagging along on a business trip with the Husband.  He had a conference out in California which unfortunately for him, involved about 90% work and only about 10% fun.  I did feel a little sorry for him, because for me the trip was like, totally awesome – as in, 100% fun.  The day we arrived out there, we parked our rented car and wandered around the darling town of Laguna Beach.  What a drop dead gorgeous scene that place is – a swanky little seaside village where convertibles pass by with surf boards hanging out the back, and nearly everyone on the tree-lined sidewalks is accompanied by a pooch on a leash.  The upscale shops with doors wide open for catching both business and the breeze – charming striped awnings and window boxes stuffed with flowers spilling out…all so relaxing and exciting all at the same time!  I’ll tell you right now – Laguna Beach had this Midwest girl at HELLO.

We stopped for lunch at an outdoor café, where lazy dogs lounged on the patio while their owners sipped mimosas and brunched in the sunshine (the unrefined DamDog, had she been with us, would have been kicked out after three minutes).  My lunch of Indian Spiced Salmon was so flippin’ delicious that five days later I can’t stop thinking about it.  So as soon as I got home (well, after I hugged the twerps of course), I set out to find a recipe so I could re-create my seaside lunch.

Here’s what I found.  It’s pretty darned close in taste, I have to say – although my view today is nothing remotely close to the one I had this past Sunday afternoon.  As I enjoy my spiced salmon, I think back on my few days in Laguna – surfers catching waves and children playing in the sand, and I’m just wondering:  if that’s the life the locals experience on a day-to-day basis, where the heck do they go on vacation?!  Wisconsin?

INDIAN SPICED SALMON WITH CURRIED YOGURT SAUCE
SERVES: 4
SOURCES:  tablespoon.com and finecooking.com

Spice blend & Salmon:
1 1/2 t. garam masala
3/4 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. cumin
1/4 t. curry powder
1/4 t. ground black pepper
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1/8 t. paprika

1 lb. salmon fillets, skinned (I used the sale Sendik’s Farm Raised Salmon)

Curry Yogurt Sauce:
1 T. butter
1/3 c. minced yellow onion (yellow onions are on sale)
1 t. minced garlic
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. curry powder
1/4 t. cumin
c. plain Greek yogurt (Dannon Greek Yogurt is on sale)
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 T. chopped cilantro

Couscous Salad for serving, optional.  See recipe below.

Preheat oven to 475.  Mix all spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl.  Place salmon fillets on a work surface and pat dry.  Rub fillets on both sides with spice mixture.  Set aside while you make the yogurt sauce.

For yogurt sauce, melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the minced onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes.  Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder, and the cumin and cook, stirring, for a minute or so.  Reduce the heat to medium low and add the yogurt.  Stir and cook for one minute.  Remove from heat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, then stir in cilantro.  Set aside.

Place an oven safe skillet over medium high heat. Add just enough cooking oil to coat the bottom of the pan (turn on your exhaust fan).  Heat the oil until shimmering but not smoking.  Add salmon fillets to the pan, skinned side up.  Cook undisturbed for two minutes.  Carefully flip salmon over and transfer pan to the oven.  Roast salmon for two minutes.  Remove pan from oven; keeping the hot pad on the handle to remind yourself that the pan is screamingly hot.

Place a bed of couscous (if using) in the middle of each plate. Top with a piece of salmon, a dollop of the yogurt sauce, and a sprig of cilantro for garnish.  Serve immediately.

COUSCOUS SALAD:
Cook a box of couscous according to directions on package (I used the SALE Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Couscous with Garlic and Basil).  Fluff cooked couscous with a fork then add in ½ a seeded and diced roma tomato, 2 minced scallions, and a tablespoon or two of minced, seeded English cucumber.  Stir to combine.  Serve with salmon.

Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous | March 18th, 2011