A Taste of Morocco
This recipe comes directly from our founder, Wendy Lange. Her decades-long love affair with Viognier translates into this effortless, absolutely gorgeous pairing, The spices used in this dish are a nod to the tagine, a shallow ceramic vessel that is traditionally used in Moroccan stews and slow-cooked vegetable dishes. Although we’re pan-searing rather than slow cooking to execute this recipe, the spices in this recipe mirror the breadth and complexity of the flavors that are at the heart of North African cuisine. Used as a rub for the salmon, they form the base notes of this dish and meld seamlessly with the fresh, fleshy sweetness of the mango and the brightness from the lime.
We love this recipe because it does not require much time to prepare, though allowing the salmon to marinate with the rub for an hour or so before pan-searing gives it time to infuse the fish. We used a Tandoori Spice blend from Morton & Bassett for this recipe, or you can whisk together a quick rub of cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, paprika, turmeric, and cayenne.
We served our salmon filets over red quinoa for an extra splash of color—if you want to go the traditional route, couscous is a classic North African pasta.
FOR THE MANGO SALSA
2 Champagne mangos
1/2 Jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 shallot, peeled finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Juice from 1/2 lime
FOR THE SPICE RUB
1 tablespoon Tandoori or Moroccan spice rub ( or whisk together the following)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
FOR THE SALMON
4 6-ounce center-cut salmon filets — we like King, Coho, or Sockeye
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
cilantro leaves for garnish
If you are creating the rub from scratch, stir together the cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, garlic powder, paprika, and cayenne in a small bowl.
Blot the filets with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Brush each filet with olive oil, taking care to evenly coat them. Lightly salt the filets, then sprinkle the rub over the flesh side of the fish, using your fingers to massage it in. Wrap the fish back up in the butcher paper it came in, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
While the salmon is marinating, process the mangos. Stand each mango on its end, stem side down on a cutting board. Run a knife along the edge of the seed, from top to bottom, to remove as much flesh as possible. Turn the mango around and remove the flesh from the opposite side. Then insert your knife into each halve, making cuts to form a crosshatch, taking care not to cut through the peel. Use your fingers or a spoon to separate individual segments from the peel. Place the cubed mango in a bowl, then gently toss in the shallot, jalapeño, cilantro, and lime juice until just combined. Set aside.
Remove the salmon filets from the refrigerator. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet until the oil begins to shimmer. Place two of the filets in the oil, skin side down, and cook without disturbing them, for around four minutes. If the salmon is cooked correctly the flesh will start to turn to pale opaque pink and the skin will crisp and release from the pan. Use a spatula to gently flip each filet and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes or until a thermometer reads at 120° F for medium-rare, or 130° for medium, depending upon how you like it. Place on a paper towel to drain and repeat the process for the last two filets.
To plate the dish, serve each filet over a generous helping of couscous, quinoa, or rice then mound the mango salsa over the top of the fish. Garnish with cilantro leaves and lime wedges, Serve with a chilled glass of Viognier.