Monday, March 31, 2014

Harissa & Honey Glazed Salmon with Curry-Spiced Heirloom Cherry Tomato, Corn & Green Pea Couscous

Hankering for a new take on pan-fried salmon? Well I certainly was because I have only 3 tried and true methods for cooking salmon in my repertoire: poached in white wine with tons of chopped shallots and served with a honey mustard-dill yogurt sauce, and sautéed either with a Cajun blackening seasoning or a teriyaki marinade. Then along came Harissa. I first heard of this fiery hot Middle Eastern chili paste while watching a program on The Cooking network and was intrigued. It's typically made of roasted peppers, chilies, coriander, garlic, and assorted spices. I'm a chili fiend so I took a leap of faith and ordered a tube from Amazon. Then I did some research on the web on how to incorporate this ingredient with salmon and the simplest and most appealing application was to mix the Harissa with honey and glaze the salmon a couple minutes before it's done and ready to serve. Couscous seemed like a natural pairing so I made a couscous salad using both fresh veggies and herbs (cherry tomatoes, shallots, jalapeños, scallions, basil, cilantro) and frozen veggies (peas and corn) with a bit of curry powder to give it a kick. Pretty good, if I say so myself.

1 lb. salmon, cut into 4 pieces

1/2 cup honey
2 tsp. Harissa

Couscous Salad:
2 cups couscous
2 cups hot water
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. olive oil

1 small red & 1 small green jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 shallot, minced (or 1/4 cup of minced red onion)
2 scallions, chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon or lime
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
10-oz. package of cherry tomatoes (heirloom if you can find it), each cut in half
1 cup green peas
1 cup corn kernels
1 tsp. curry powder
1/4 cup golden raisins

1 tbsp. olive oil
Balsamic vinegar (optional)

1. Combine the honey and Harissa in a small bowl for the glaze and set aside.

2. Season the salmon pieces on both sides with a bit of kosher salt. Set aside.

3. For the couscous salad: place 2 cups of couscous in a large bowl. Pour 2 cups of hot (just boiled) water into the bowl along with 1/2 tsp. of salt and 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Give it a quick stir, cover with foil or plastic wrap and let sit for at least 10 minutes until the couscous has softened.

4. Fluff up the couscous with a wooden spoon then stir in all the remaining ingredients (up through the golden raisins). Gently stir in 1 tbsp. of olive oil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, if desired. 

5. Add 1 tbsp. of olive oil to a sauté pan and cook the salmon, browning on both sides, until just done. Baste the salmon generously with the honey-Harissa glaze about 1-2 minutes before done. 

6. Remove the salmon to individual plates and serve with the couscous salad and extra honey-Harissa glaze on the side.

Place 2 cups of couscous in a bowl then add 2 cups of boiling hot water, 1/2 tsp. salt, 2 tbsp. olive oil, stir briefly, then cover with foil or plastic wrap and let sit at least 10 minutes until the couscous has softened.


For the glaze: combine 1/2 cup of honey with 2 tsp. of Harissa.

Stir the minced jalapeños, shallots and scallions with the couscous.

Add the peas, corn, olive oil, lemon/lime juice, salt, pepper, garlic pepper, cilantro, basil, curry powder and golden raisins.

Heirloom cherry tomatoes. You can use any cherry tomato, but the heirlooms give this salad more flavor and color contrast. 

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and add to the salad.

Saute the salmon and brush generously with the honey-Harissa glaze about 1-2 minutes before they are done. 

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