Crispy skin, smokey baba ghanoush and simple pearl couscous. If this sounds like something you would like on your table tonight or sometime soon then read on and learn how I made this epic Moroccan salmon dinner!
Why I Love This Crispy Skin Salmon Recipe
Everything just works. It's healthy, so much flavour coming through from the smokey baba ghanoush and a delicious and simple pearl couscous salad. Let's not forget the hero is that crispy skin salmon. So good! What's even better about this dish is it's frickin delicious cold too. In fact, Mrs AnotherFoodBlogger took it to work the next day for lunch too!
The baba ghanoush can be a little time consuming to make. BUT one of the best things about this Moroccan salmon dish is 2 out of 2 components can be served cold. Therefore can be made in advance. This makes it a great dish for when friends are coming for dinner and you want to just relax and enjoy their company and some good wine!
Smokey Baba Ghanoush
This recipe is SUPER easy but does require a few steps. Believe me, when I say it though it's 100% worth it. Typically, I am not a big eggplant fan but made into my delicious smokey baba ghanoush and served with crispy skin Moroccan salmon it's a winner!
Simply place the baba ghanoush in your bbq along with some wood chips and cook it on direct heat. This takes about 15 minutes until the skin cracks and the centre is soft. Once cooked, you need to steam/sweat the eggplant. This is done to help the skin peel easily and the moisture within the eggplant is released. Do this by placing it in a bowl and cover it tightly with cling film. Making sure to keep that delicious smokey liquid that is released.
Once steamed, peel the eggplant and chop it. Place into a sieve and let the moisture drain once more. Discard the 2nd batch of liquid and then in a blender add the remaining ingredients and the initial smokey liquid back in and blend it up. Smooth, creamy & smokey baba ghanoush ready for your Moroccan salmon dinner!
How To Make Pearl CousCous
Follow the instructions on the packet - it's really that simple!!! No, seriously there is a little more than I can say about it to cook the perfect bowl of pearl couscous.
Firstly, if you are wondering what pearl couscous is - they are small balls of toasted semolina flour that like regular couscous will absorb the liquid it is cooked in. Pearl couscous is a little chewier in texture and to be honest nicer in my opinion!
For this pearl couscous recipe, I cooked it with a ratio of 2:1. The key, at least for me is NOT to add salt to the water when cooking it. I know, this seems to the opposite of everything you are taught but I find it less gummy and they stick together less when salt is added after the cooking process.
After that, add what you like. For this recipe, I kept the flavours light and simple so diced cucumber, chopped tomatoes, herbs and citrus. This helps compliment the baba ghanoush in my crispy skin Moroccan salmon dish.
I have been collaborating with Marty of Mont Wines now for a few months. It's been a cracking relationship - I get to drink great wines and create some fun recipes to pair with them. Life is TOUGH!!
Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting him and his wife to be Jen. They were up for a wedding in sunny QLD so we arranged a catch up with a few wine nerd friends. Marty brought along his wines and 2 new (just bottled) beauties too. It was a great night and also a great hangover the next day 😉
FYI - his 2 new wines are a super easy drinking Sangiovese that is one of those pizzas on the couch and you better have a second bottle on hand! The 2nd was a shiraz which is more full-bodied than is syrah but boy is this one that's going to be decanted over and over again in this house!! Stay tuned for recipes on those bad boys soon.
Salmon Wine Pairing
This month Pinot is the wine of choice. Typically when we think of Pinots we think mushroom, earthy food or duck. In fact, I have a few recipes like that on my site already so check out my mushroom risotto & duck w/ rhubarb ketchup recipes!
One of my favourite things to pair with pinot noir is salmon. Especially salmon with crispy skin or grilled salmon. The oiliness in the fish and firmer texture stands up really well to a light-bodied red wine so the Mont Wines Pinot was a no-brainer for this Moroccan salmon dish.
Mont's Pinot Noir is simply cracking. Only 170 cases made and coming in at a very reasonable price of $30 a bottle I described it as - Delightful & Juicy! Great red berry flavours with a lovely savouriness coming through. A reasonable amount of oak, but not overpowering at all - this will mellow over time too. Good acid balance and nice and tight tannins. There is a touch of ink on the finish too. I recommend decanting the wine for 30 minutes or cellar for a couple years to be fully rewarded.
Tips For Success & FAQ's
It's really very simple. Make sure the salmon is dry - pat it with some paper towel first. Rub the salmon (both sides) with oil and season generously.
In a hot pan on medium-high heat add a splash of oil and place the salmon skin-side down. The key is to weigh the salmon down gently. You don't want to put a 1kg weight on top so either press down gently with your fingers or (which is safer) use a fish knife/spatula. Cook skin side down until the salmon is cooked halfway thru - you can see the colour change ion the side. Flip the salmon and cook for a further 2 minutes.
You sure can. In fact, I often sear the skin side of the salmon and then flip it and finish it in the oven. This is especially good if you have a thicker piece of salmon that takes longer to cook and don't want to burn it. Bonus points - the kitchen isn't as smelly too!
Baba ghanoush will keep for up to 4 days in the fridge in an airtight container although with a recipe this good I give it a couple days tops!!!!
Also, and I am yet to do it - you can freeze baba ghanoush if you make a larger quantity. However, with the moisture in it, you would probably get some ice crystals so it will definitely alter the texture when defrosted.
As you read I smoked the eggplant on the BBQ. If you don't have a BBQ then you can definitely cook the eggplant in the oven but tbh the smokey flavour you get from cooking eggplant on the BBQ is second to none!
- 4 salmon fillets 150-220g each
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 250 g pearl couscous (1 cup)
- 1 handful dill
- 50 g feta (2oz)
- 150 g cucumber approx. ½
- 300 g cherry tomatoes (1 & 1/2 cups)
- 1 handful coriander
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 large eggplant
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
Baba Ghanoush (can be made in advance)
- Heat your BBQ to 200c, using a gas BBQ place some chips inside a tinfoil parcel and pierce a few holes in it. Place it on the grill. *see tips*
- Once the wood is smoking (or chips if using chips) then pierce the eggplant with a knife and place it on direct heat for approx. 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes.
- The eggplant skin will crack and the eggplant itself will shrink. It’s cooked once you can pierce it with a knife easily.
- Remove eggplant from BBQ and place in a large bowl with the wood chip packet, cover with foil and leave for 10 minutes – this allows the skin to soften and the eggplant to take on more smokey notes. Keep the liquid in the bowl for using later.
- Peel the skin, chop the eggplant and place it over a sieve for a couple minutes to strain some of the liquid. Discard this liquid.
- Place the eggplant, previously reserved liquid, garlic, tahini, lemon juice & salt in a blender and blend until smooth
Cous Cous (can be made in advance)
- Cook the cous cous according to the packet (typically a ratio of 2:1)
- Dice the tomatoes & cucumber and mix in with the cooked cous cous
- Add chopped dill, coriander, oil, lemon juice, seasoning and feta. Toss to combine
- Season both sides of the salmon with salt
- Place the olive oil into a hot pan on medium-high heat and cook the salmon skin side down for approx. 4 minutes until skin is crispy.
- Flip the salmon and cook for approx. a further 3 minutes until the salmon is slightly firm to touch.
- Alternatively and this helps with the smell (a little) you can flip the salmon and place it in the oven @ 180c for 2-3 minutes. *see tips*
- chopping board
- chef knives
- measuring utensils
- blender • Saucepan
- Frying Pan
- Mixing bowl
- you can roast the eggplant in the oven if you don’t have access to a BBQ – you won’t get the same smokey flavours but the process will still work. No need to turn the eggplant, just place it on a tray and leave her alone!
- when cooking salmon you want the feel of it to be slightly firm to the touch – not too much so that you have a brick but it shouldn’t be soft when you press on it
- I often place a spatula on top of the salmon when cooking skin side down to get an even crisp on the skin
- if you have a thicker piece of salmon it’s advisable to cook in the oven so that you don’t burn, smoke or stink out the house waiting for it to cook. Thinner pieces will obviously cook quicker too
- baba ghanoush will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge