Moroccan Hot-Smoked Sockeye Salmon with Salsa Verde

It’s never too hot to grill (even in Texas). My husband and I recently tried our hand at smoking wild salmon, and I think it turned out pretty darn good…

Step 1 – If you’re going to be smoking fish at home, always start with a very fresh fillet. I used to work at a fish market, so I know how to finagle a fishmonger into giving me the freshest fillet in the market. Here’s how it works:

Monger: How may I help you today miss?
Savvy Customer: When did the sockeye arrive at the market?
M: Yesterday.
SC: Do you have any whole fish? (Some whole fish have a longer shelf life than fillets.)
M: No, I’m sorry we’re sold out.
SC: No problem. These fillets here, do you process them in-house?
M: No, they arrive already filleted.
SC: I like the look of these in the case, but do you have any in the back that might be fresher?
M: Yes, as a matter of fact we do have some cases that arrived this morning. Let me just go to the back and fetch one for you.
SC: (smiling politely) Why thank you!
M: Here you go. You can see the harvest date right here (points to the unopened case with his index finger, opens the case, and removes a glistening, sweet-smelling fillet). How about this one?
SC: Perfect! Thanks for all your help! (secretly to herself: Damn I’m good.)

Step 2 – Rub skin-on fillet with “smoky” rub of choice and season lightly with sea salt. I used a Moroccan spice blend that my sister Caitlin brought home from her trip to Morocco last January. There’s no other way to describe it other than divine. I think I detect hints of saffron and pimentón, if you’d like to try to recreate it.

Step 3 – Prepare charcoal grill; simultaneously soak planks or logs of your choosing (cedar, pecan, mesquite, maple, etc.). Spread the hot coals evenly over the grill, then top the soaked planks. Spray the skin-side of the fillet and the grill grate liberally with nonstick cooking spray. Place the fillet in the center of the grill and close the lid. Hot-smoke for approximately 15 min. Do not over cook!

Step 4 – Move fish from grill to serving platter and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Step 4 – Slice salmon and serve with salsa verde (preferrably homemade) and cool Greek yogurt to temper the heat.


Filed under Dinner, Food, Recipes

5 responses to “Moroccan Hot-Smoked Sockeye Salmon with Salsa Verde

  1. I liked your post but, I would consider using complimentary seasonings. By complimentary, I mean if you start with the Moroccan rub then you should have a sauce that builds on the structure of that sauce. The yogurt works great, but the green sauce takes the dish in another direction. I think about cooking sort of like construction where you build everything that is referential. Does that make sense?

    • That’s a great way to approach the dish, or any dish, for that matter. It’s funny that you mention this, because at the time, I was wondering if the salsa verde would work out. It was a home-roasted tomatillo sauce, not to spicy, so it ended up pairing nicely with the smoky rub – which wasn’t too spicy in and of itself. However, I wasn’t totally satisfied with the pairing. Perhaps a spicy peach salsa (similar to a chutney)? I love your comments, keep them coming!

      • Thanks. I’ve read many recent books about new cooking trends, “Ad Hoc Cooking”, “Momofuku”, etc. and there are a lot of new trailblazers moving through the culinary forest; anything goes these days. Two really big trends are the desire for encouraging locavores, meaning people using and consuming locally harvested food resources while another trend is this mixing and matching, sort of blending of various food traditions. In both instances the thought of whether something is actually healthy seems to be sidelined. It is as if now that you use locally produced and sourced foods then anything about the nutritional benefits seems to be thrown out the window. I love pork belly, but eating is eating it regularly and incorporating it into the rest of your diet might not be the best thing to do. One of the best things I have come up with is using more Coconut Oil over high heat cooking. It works better and is a very healthy alternative to any other.

      • Well put. My palate (both literal and visual) is a bit satiated by the pork belly trend. Enough already! I’ll have to try the coconut oil trick. Thanks again!

  2. Pingback: Simple Sockeye Salmon « GrannyMa's

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