Crispy Cumin Salmon
you know how certain songs or scents can take you back to cherished memories? well food is my trigger for that kind of thing. to be fair, food is my trigger for most things. i like food.
anyhooo….this salmon recipe takes me back to when i was a sophmore in college in Tennessee. yeah, i know- i had a weird college experience that was more focused on fancy foods than frat parties and beer (although there was a fair amount of the latter too…they were usually just preceded by a dinner that consisted of more than ramen noodles and pizza).
one of my friends who lived in Memphis had family coming to visit and they made this salmon and i was hooked. i can still vividly remember standing in the kitchen chatting it up with folks i had just met (and drinking a glass of white wine and feeling very sophisticated-LOL), and watching the chef prepare the salmon with a cumin rub before covering it in a delicious marinade. and that is when my love affair with cumin began.
that was more than…well never mind how many years ago it was (holy guacamole batman- i’m old). the point is, my love for cumin has only grown with time. as has my love for this recipe. of all the salmon recipes in all the land (or at least all the ones i’ve tried)- this one has stolen my heart. i think it’s because the salmon gets all crispy-crunchy (and i’m a sucker for anything crispy…) and the flavors are all my favorite flavors put on top of the best fish in the whole world. OK that’s ridiculous- sea bass is obviously the best fish ever, but i will give salmon a
close second place medal. i have tweaked it a bit, but the essential components have stayed the same and it is still my favorite way to eat salmon. or maybe its tied with sashim – but i’m too much of a chicken to prepare raw sushi at home.
if sesame oil isn’t your thing i will try to look past that in our friendship because friendship means overlooking obvious misconceptions…and ’cause it has a very strong taste. but no worries, this recipe can be made with EVOO (which is how i originally had it) and it will still be delicious. but for the sake of our friendship and your taste buds maybe try a little toasted sesame oil? maybe halvsies? peer pressure- it’s being used for the common good now.
prepping this salmon is crazy easy- the main thing is to poke it all over with a fork so the marinade can seep into the fish prior to cooking (i know, right? mind blown. or, more likely, you already knew that trick). after that it’s just a matter of chilling out while the fish marinates. if you prep the marinade the night before and then let the fish soak all up in it while you’re at work the next day you can have dinner on the table 15 minutes after you walk through the door. plus, you will have finally spent your work day being productive. that’s a win y’all.
to cook the salmon, i like to cook it with the skin on but i remove it to eat. some folks are all about eating salmon skin and to them i say: go for it. the marinade will make the skin yummy-ish too i guess, so more power to you. since i want the top to be crunchy and delicious i put the salmon in the pan skin down first to test the heat and see how quickly its cooking. plus, i want the salmon to cook most of the way through before i flip it so that i can crank up the heat and get the top crispy and still have a fully cooked fillet throughout. usually about 5-8 minutes on the skin side, depending on the thickness, and then 3-5 minutes on top.
- 4 salmon fillets
- 2 t. cumin
- 2 T. toasted sesame oil
- 1 T. EVOO
- 1 t. siracha
- 4 t. brown sugar
- 1/2 t. fresh ginger
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- salt, to taste
- Lay out fillets in a shallow dish and poke all over each fillet with a fork. Cover with cumin (1/2 t. per each fillet).
- In a small bowl mix together remaining ingredients and pour over salmon. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hrs. Remove salmon and allow to sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat skillet on stove over medium heat. Place salmon in pan, skin down and cook about 5-8 minutes. Salmon should become opaque pink almost up to the top. Turn up heat to medium high and flip over. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until top has achieved desired crispyness. Enjoy!
anyone else have a college flashback when they eat salmon? just me? mmkay then. it’s still delicious.