Peppered Salmon with Creamy Chickpea Dressing and Fresh Greens

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I’ve been trying to eat more fish/seafood lately, and salmon is one of my favorites. It’s not too expensive, not too fishy and can be really beautiful when cooked correctly. This recipe from Tyler Florence is a great one to impress company — while not being too hard so you won’t be in the kitchen all night. The salmon is crusted in freshly ground black pepper and coriander seeds, so it’s crunchy on the outside and (ideally) still a little rare on the inside. Buy high quality fish and this will be a hit.

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The salmon is served on top of a puree of chickpeas spiced up with cumin, and an herby salad of spinach, mint and dill alongside, dressed simply in lemon and oil, salt and pepper. Get a little bit of salad, chickpea and salmon in each bite, and it’s perfect! The salad is nice and fresh and dill always goes great with fish, and it gives it a nice cool, crunchy kick. Delicious!

TW’s Tips

  • Coriander seeds: find them in the bulk spice area at a Whole Foods or Sprouts, or they often come in a jar in the spice aisle as well. It’s critical to use freshly ground seeds — NOT the ground spice. You don’t get the same texture or flavor.
  • Grinding the spices — don’t attempt a mortar and pestle. I tried it and wanted to cry. I have an electric spice grinder that I use, or clean out your coffee grinder REALLY well and use that.
  • You can do skin or off on the fish — I’ve done it both ways. It’s nice to get some crispy skin if you like that, but if not, it’s still good.
  • The recipe doesn’t call for heating up the chickpeas, but I didn’t like them room temp. (I’m one of those people who needs their food either really hot or cold — not in between.) I throw them in a little saucepan and heat them through.

Peppered Salmon with Creamy Chickpea Dressing and Fresh Greens
(Serves 4)

Ingredients 
Salmon
  • 1/4 cup black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup coriander seeds
  • 1 pound salmon fillet, skin on
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • lemon wedges for serving
Vinaigrette

  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Salad

  • 1 bag (10 ounces) baby spinach
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint
  • 1 bunch of fresh dill
Directions

  • Put the peppercorns and coriander in a clean spice grinder and pulse to a coarse grind. Pour the mixture out onto a large plate. Roll the salmon in the spices until coated all over.
  • Heat a 2-count of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is smoking. Sprinkle the salmon with salt, add it to the pan and sear for 4 to 5 minutes to develop a good crust. Turn the fillet and cook 4 to 5 minutes on the other side, until the salmon begins to flake apart when gently prodded with a fork. Put the salmon on a plate, cover with foil and set aside at room temperature.
  • For the vinaigrette, open the can of chickpeas and dump it straight into a bowl, without draining.  Add the olive oil, cumin, paprika, lemon juice, and a little salt and pepper and stir that up. Spoon about half of the vinaigrette into a blender and puree; stir the puree back into the rest of the vinaigrette to thicken. (I heat this through on the stove — just throw in a pan and bring to a simmer.)
  • Toss spinach, mint, and dill in a bowl.
  • To serve, spoon the chickpea vinaigrette into the center of a platter. Set the salmon fillet on top and mound the spinach to one side. Serve with lemon wedges.
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