Saturday, October 06, 2007

Cooking from The Cook's Book: Salmon with Cajun Blackening Spices

I haven't had any fish recipes on the blog for a while (not since the picturesque teriyaki salmon, but that post didn't contain a recipe), so it's time to remedy the situation, especially as 'eating more fish' was one of my 2007 foodie resolutions.

I chose a recipe from Jill Norman's The Cook's Book: Step-by-step techniques & recipes for success every time from the world's top chefs, a book I gave to K. as a Christmas present last year after reading Sam's enthusiastic praises to Jill Norman's hefty tome. The book is divided into sections, each full of great instructions and recipes by the masters of their field - Dan Lepard (Breads & Batters), Ferran Adria (Foams), Marcus Wareing (Meat), Ken Hom (Chinese Cooking), David Thompson (Thai Cooking), Pierre Herme (Pastry & Sweet Doughs; Desserts), to name just a few. I've tried quite a few recipes from the book (Pierre Herme's recipe for pâte brisée with a twist is a particular favourite of mine; K. has been taken by Madame Guérard's method for deep-frying eggs), and due to the accumulation of our newest kitchen gadget have been reading up on Adria's chapter recently :)

The recipe is from Peter Gordon's chapter on Flavourings, and has been very slightly adapted. I reduced the recipe to feed the two of us; only used whole spices, as that's what we keep in the house; used fresh garlic, as I've never understood the appeal of dried garlic powder. I also cooked my salmon fillets for a wee bit longer than prescribed by Peter Gordon, yet still leaving salmon tantalisingly opaque-pink inside. Note that although it is usually recommended to dry-roast your whole spices first, it's not necessary here, as the spices will be coming into direct contact with the heat anyway.

And yes, of course it's a keeper. I wouldn't be sharing the recipe with you otherwise.

Salmon With Cajun Blackening Spices
(Peter Gordoni lõhefilee Cajuni vürtsidega)
Source: Peter Gordon in The Cook's Book (p 99), very slightly adapted
Serves 2-3

2 salmon steaks or fillets

1tsp cumin seeds, crushed
1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
2 tsp smoked Spanish paprika, pimenton
1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed
1 tsp dried thyme
a pinch of dried oregano
2 tsp fine salt
1 garlic clove, finely minced

olive oil or rapeseed oil, for frying

Crush all cumin seeds, coriander seeds and peppercorns in the pestle & mortar, add other spices and finely chopped garlic clove. Mix and rub over salmon fillets or steaks (both sides!). Cover the tray and leave to marinate at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Heat a heavy-bottomed frying pan on a moderately high heat until hot, add the oil. Place salmon fillets in the pan. Leave to cook for 2-3 minutes, without moving them (this helps to get a nice and even browning).
Turn salmon fillets around, cover the pan with a lid and cook for another 2-3 minutes, depending on how cooked you like your salmon.
Transfer onto warmed plates and serve with a cucumber salad and a dollop of thick yogurt/sour cream.


Kalyn Denny said...

Sounds quite delicious. I've recently discovered that I quite like coriander seed, which I always thought was not one of my favorites for some reason. So now I'm on the lookout for recipes that have it and this looks like a keeper.

Alanna Kellogg said...

This is not nice! You see I have pork chops that NEED cooking and am SUPPOSED to cook a ham and now all I want is FISH. : - )

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Thanks for reminding me about this book. I actually have it, but it's never been on the top of the pile, so I rarely cook from it. Time to dig it out and get to work!

Shayne said...

I love making cajun salmon the flavors are so nice together.
Your looks very tasty

Susan from Food Blogga said... the combination of spices in this, Pille, especially the bold coriander. I just love the smell of it! That salmon pic is particularly appetizing too.

Sam said...

I am so glad you like the book - and it is nice to see people try other recieps that I haven't tried!

I wish my boyfriend would eat fish. I rarely get the chance to cook it :(

K and S said...

mmm this looks delicious! I was wondering about this book too, thanks for the little review.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pille!

Love the salmon pic (the first one)! It's so gorgeous! And the recipe is great, too. Thanks for mentioning this book, it sounds really interesting. I'll try and look for it.

Jeanne said...

Those look delicious! I always mean to make blackened fish/chicken/something but never quite seem to get round to it. I have, however, taken to smearing my salmon fillets with a powdered spice mix of jalapeno, lime and coriander seeds - fantastic!

Pille said...

Kalyn - I only discovered coriander seeds few years ago, and have liked them from the beginning. Coriander/Cilantro, however, was totally disgusting in the beginning - and now it's one of my favourite herbs:)

Alanna - ups! Sorry:) Maybe you can combine pork, ham, and fish somehow? Or maybe not:)

Lydia - well, it's a heavy book, so I can see why it's usually at the bottom of a pile:) But yes, there are plenty of good-looking recipes to try..

Shayne - Cajun cooking is something quite unfamiliar to me, so I'm only in the learning process. But so far, so good!

Susan - thank you!

Sam - I must thank you for recommending this one - I don't think I would have otherwise bought it. Re: fish & Fred - that's a pity indeed. Maybe you can sneak fish into food, you know, like parents sneak vegetables into children's food:)

K&S - it's definitely a good book to have!

Maninas - thank you for your kind words about the photos!

Jeanne - jalapeno, lime and coriander seeds??? Sounds fantastic!!

Ila said...

This book is really great, I like it very much. It shows all those strangely named but renowned dishes in a very simple way so even non-profs can try it at home. Very recommended as a gift for a food lover.