Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spice-Crusted Salmon with Ginger-Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

The smell of this salmon is going to stick with me for days to come (in more ways than one because the smell of cooked fish is still lingering in our apartment).  When I was crushing up the fennel and coriander seeds they were both releasing a wonderful scent. They were so aromatic that I could smell them through the ziploc bag.  The crushed coriander seeds smelled nicely floral (and just slightly peppery), whereas the crushed fennel seeds smelled like licorice or anise.  And then when we cooked the salmon you still got those aromatic scents, combined with the smell of the salmon itself.  I thought that overall the salmon was nice.  The floral warmth of the coriander and fennel rub paired nicely with the richness of the salmon and the lime juice (and the yogurt sauce) really cut through the richness and gave the dish some acidity.  I thought the flavor of the yogurt sauce was a little overpowering at times - particularly when you happened to bite into a piece of minced ginger.  In the future I would probably grate the ginger instead of mincing it to avoid any such mouthfuls of ginger.  I would also probably cut back on the amount of yogurt sauce that I serve with each piece of salmon.  I don't think you can get rid of the yogurt sauce entirely because the spices might otherwise prove a little too powerful - I think you need the creamy coolness and acidity of the yogurt sauce to act as a counterpoint to the spices.  All in all, I would say that this was a nice salmon dish and a nice alternative to our usual salmon recipes, but it was just "nice" and nothing spectacular.

Recipe after the jump!

Spice-Crusted Salmon with Ginger-Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
November 2010

1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3 teaspoons fresh lime juice, divided
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
4 6-ounce salmon fillets with skin
Lime wedges
    Mix yogurt, cilantro, 1 teaspoon lime juice, 1 teaspoon oil, ginger, and garlic in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Place fennel seeds and coriander seeds in heavy-duty plastic bag. Using a mallet, crush seeds. Sprinkle flesh of the fillets with salt, pepper, and seeds.

    Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fillets, seed (flesh) side down. Cook until brown, about 3 minutes. Turn over. Cook until just opaque in center, about 3 minutes (the skin should be nice and crispy by this point). Drizzle with 2 teaspoons lime juice. Place fillets on plates. Top with sauce; serve with lime wedges.

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