Monday, January 29, 2007

Salmon with Chiplotle-Honey Glaze and Cinnamon-Scented Couscous

This dish came to be because we wanted to eat something quick and healthy on a Saturday night. Usually, Saturdays are reserved for the more indulgent and labor-intensive of recipes; however, we had plans to eat out at a very tasty restaurant on Sunday evening, so taking it easy was a wise choice.

Paragons of moderation that we are, I came up with this dead easy glaze for baked salmon that turned out to be even better than I had hoped. Seriously, the whole time we were eating, I couldn't shut up about how delicious the fish tasted. Sometimes I turn into a broken record when I'm really enjoying my food; thankfully, Mike just nods and keeps chewing.

The idea for the warmly spiced couscous with dried fruit, pine nuts and scallions came from Nigella Lawson's How to Eat, but I kept this one very light with just a dab of butter that you could actually leave out if you wanted. It is one of my favorite couscous dishes in recent memory. Maybe it's not really all that healthy because you will want to eat more than just one serving.

Rounded out with steamed kale quickly sauteed in a little olive oil and tossed with lemon juice, salt and pepper, I thought this was the perfect colorful healthy plate. The wonderful thing is that it tasted as flavorful and delicious as any meal we would usually cook on a Saturday night.

Salmon with Chipotle-Honey Glaze
Serves 2

Nonstick cooking spray
2-6 oz. salmon fillets, skin on
salt and pepper
3 tbs. honey
1 canned chipotle chile, seeded and chopped, plus 2 tsp. of the sauce from the chile can
1 tbs. lime juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle the salmon with salt and pepper, place skin side down on the baking sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the honey, chipotle chile, chile sauce and lime juice together in a small bowl. Taste and add more honey if you want it sweeter, or more chipotle sauce if you want it hotter.

After 13 to 15 minutes or when the salmon is three-quarters of the way done (depending on thickness), take the baking sheet out of the oven and drizzle the chipotle-honey glaze all over the fish. Continue baking for 5 minutes, or until the salmon flakes easily and is cooked through. Spoon any excess glaze that has collected on the foil over the salmon and serve. If the salmon skin sticks to the foil, gently remove the flesh to the serving plates and no one will have that extra piece of skin left when they are done eating.

Cinnamon-Scented Couscous
Inspired by a recipe in Nigella Lawson's How To Eat

Serves 3-4

1 ¼ c. water, chicken broth or vegetable broth
½ tbs. butter
¼ tsp. salt
1 c. whole wheat couscous
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cumin
¼ c. dried currants (raisins or cranberries would also work well)
1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
2 tbs. pine nuts

Bring the water or broth to a boil over high heat. Add the butter and salt. Add the couscous while continuously stirring with a whisk or fork. When the liquid returns to a boil, lower the heat to the lowest setting and add the cinnamon, cumin, currants, scallions and pine nuts. When all the water is absorbed, cover tightly and remove from heat. Let the couscous steam for at least 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork and serve.


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I'm big into salmon right now. This looks super tasty.

Patricia Scarpin said...


This is a very interesting suggestion even for weekdays - quick to put together and full of flavor.

I've never had couscous and I've seen so many wonderful recipes around - yours included, of course - I think it's time I tried it.

sher said...

Sometimes a recipe "speaks" to you--and this is one of them. I love couscous, and Nigella's recipe is wonderful. The salmon is brilliant!

Julie said...

Tanna: I love salmon too, but sometimes neglect it because you can find it everywhere all the time, and it isn't usually too exciting. This totally gussied it up and made me remember how good it can be.
Patricia: you must try couscous! Even simply cooked in broth with a little salt, pepper and olive oil, it is wonderful. Not only that, it is a whole grain that cooks instantly. Let me know what you think.
Sher: Wow, thanks. Let me know if you try it.

Maggie said...

Yum! I am a HUGE fan of couscous and am always looking for new ways to prepare it. This version looks so impressive!

Kristen said...

This salmon recipe looks so inviting. I can't wait to give it a try! Thanks for recommending it.

Christine said...

Simple truly is beautiful and this dish says it all.

Julie said...

Maggie: This couscous is totally impressive, but only you'll know how easy it is!
Kristen: try the salmon; it is so yummy!
Christine: Thank you for your sweet comment, as always!

peabody said...

This looks fantastic.

Mallika said...

Hi Julie - This is such a great recipe. My mum in law is on a no salt or spices diet and I´m going to cook this for her.

cheril said...

I used coho salmon and this was so good. The flavors of the couscous are delicious. Interesting flavor combo with the salmon--tastes good together but very different. Lovely, fast, healthy meal. Easy enough for weekday but tasty enough for company. Thanks.

Julie said...

Cheril: Thanks for letting me know how it turned out. I often just roast salmon plain, but this is such a nice easy way to dress it up. Glad you liked the couscous too!

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