February 27, 2020
Wild Salmon is a treat we don’t allow ourselves to enjoy very often. Having eliminated all farmed fish from my personal diet - and my restaurant’s menu - helps me sleep better at night. Sometimes, the fish gods smile upon us and send us beautiful wild salmon from local waters. And we are always on the hunt to play with old spices in new ways. Kalonji, aka nigella sativa seed, is a spice commonly used in India for topping rotis or naans. Resembling black sesame seeds, it is often mistaken for black cumin, a completely different spice. Kalonji has powerful health benefits, from antioxidant properties to reducing inflammation, and is getting a lot of buzz in the culinary world. Ground up, it transforms into a whole new flavor - hauntingly smoky, deeply savory and just delicious. It’s wonderful with meat or meaty fish. So skip imposter farmed fish - bring home a good piece of wild salmon and roast it with kalonji.
12 ounces salmon fillet
1 tablespoon ground kalonji
1 tablespoon amchur (dried green mango)
4 tablespoons olive oil or ghee
2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 pound small red potatoes, thinly sliced
2 small radishes, thinly sliced
2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ajwain
Chopped cilantro and handful of other herbs for garnish
1 teaspoon whole kalonji seeds for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Marinate the salmon with kalonji, amchur, olive oil, and 1 teaspoon salt.
Combine potatoes, radishes, and onion with ginger, black pepper, ajwain and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and spread on a baking sheet.
Cover tightly with foil and bake in oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. For the final 10 minutes, remove the foil off the pan to allow the vegetables to brown.
When the vegetables are done, slide to the periphery of the pan and place the salmon in the middle. Roast in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes uncovered. Garnish with whole kalonji seeds, chopped cilantro, and fresh herbs. Serve immediately.
Ajwain can be replaced with celery or mustard seeds.
Replace potatoes with zucchini or yellow squash, but reduce the cooking time to roughly half and don’t cover the baking sheet.
In the absence of amchur, squeeze fresh lime or lemon on top of the fish just before serving.
December 02, 2022