Saumon au Citron Confit (Preserved Lemon Salmon Recipe)
While I was in France, Maman, Papa, baby Aria and I enjoyed a lot of seafood. Maman's favorite fish is salmon and this recipe was an ultra easy one to cook. Citron confit is widely available in Paris but you can also easily make your own. I prepared the salmon marinade with preserved lemons, coriander, cumin and ginger. You could serve it on a bed of couscous topped with pine nuts, but we opted for some spinach instead. Simply sauté fresh spinach in olive oil, add a dollop of crème fraîche, the juice of an orange, cayenne pepper and a pinch of fleur de sel. All these North African flavors tasted phenomenal!
I'm finally back to the US and it feels so good to be home. Baby Aria is ecstatic being kissed and cuddled constantly by everyone. Thank you so much for being so patient and for all your supportive messages!
Yields: 4 servings4 (5-ounce) salmon steaks
2 preserved lemons
3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and halved
1 teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground
1¼ teaspoons fleur de sel de Guérande (or regular salt)
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons mild honey (optional), warm
6 tablespoons canola oil (or any neutral oil), as needed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Marinating the salmon:
In a mortar and pestle (or a mini blender), combine the preserved lemons, 1 clove garlic, coriander, cumin, white pepper, ginger and cayenne pepper. Form a thick paste. Add 1 tablespoon oil and mix well.
Ask your fishmonger to prep 4 salmon steaks. Wash and pat dry using paper towels. Place the fish steaks in a small, shallow dish. Cover the fish with the marinade. Season with salt. Make sure the fish is well coated with the marinade on both sides. Marinate the fish for no more than 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Drizzle the fish with a bit of oil. In a non-stick pan, heat the rest of the oil and fry the remaining garlic cloves until golden. Remove the garlic and set aside. Once the oil has a nice garlic flavor, add the butter over medium heat. Place the fish in the oil, making sure the fish steaks don't touch each other. Jiggle the pan to make sure the fish does not stick to the bottom of the pan and is totally coated with oil. Cook until lightly golden for about 2 minutes, flip each piece (I use chopsticks which I find easier to maneuver; you could use a slotted fish turner) and pan-fry the other side for another 2 minutes until crisp, and, lightly browned. Do NOT over-cook. Jiggle the pan again.
Transfer the fish steaks to a baking dish greased with a spray of oil. Drizzle with the warm honey (if using) and add a sprinkle of fleur de sel. Bake for 4-5 more minutes.
Remove from the oven and check for doneness. The fish should be flaky. If the fish is not cooked through, bake for another 3-4 minutes.
Serve warm with creamed spinach on the side.