Cravings, salmon & sesame

When I was expecting our first son, I had the stereotypical cravings I had read about in pregnancy books. Much to my surprise, my sweet-tooth mysteriously disappeared – no ice cream, no cookies, and definitely no cake for me! Spicy foods that were rich in protein were the only things that I wanted to put in my belly. 

Along with my newfound cravings came some strong aversions (oddly, the smell of soap was one of them). While eating chicken, salmon, and beans made my baby squirm with delight, the intensity of their smell made my stomach turn. Cooking in our kitchen was a definite no-no. Something had to be done and fast, this pregnant lady had to eat!

Since salmon was high on my list of cravings, my brilliant (and practical) husband decided that all nasal-offenders were to be cooked outside for nine months. That was the official start of our barbeque era. Problem solved!

I love the versatility of salmon and the beauty of its meaty, orange flesh. The aromatic sesame rub in this recipe creates a gorgeous crust on the salmon’s exterior, without compromising the natural flavor of the fish.

Although this salmon recipe was meant to be cooked on the flat pan of a barbeque, it can also be pan-seared on your stove-top. I have included directions for both cooking methods.

The Dry Sesame Rub can be made in large quantities and stored in an airtight container. It will keep in your pantry for months. I often use the rub to sprinkle on steamed vegetables. It also stands up to other types of firm fish, or even meat.

Sesame Crusted Salmon:

Dry Sesame Rub

Ingredients:

  • Sesame seeds, untoasted
  • Cumin Seeds
  • Mustard Seeds
  • Black Sesame seeds (also called nigella seeds)

Directions:

In equal parts, place sesame seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and black sesame seeds in a shallow, dry frying pan. Gently swirl the pan over medium heat, until the mustard seeds begin to pop, and the seeds begin to release their fragrance. They’re quick to burn if you leave them, so watch carefully.

Set aside to cool.

Salmon:

  • 2 x 200 grams salmon fillets, skin on
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons dry sesame rub
  • olive oil
  • salt and black pepper

Directions:

Remove salmon fillets from the refrigerator 15-20 minutes and let stand at room temperature.

Rub a small amount of olive oil on the flesh of each fillet (not on the skin). Season with salt and pepper.

Press the spring onions onto the flesh of each fillet.

Add 2 tablespoons dry sesame rub per fillet (reserve the rest of the rub for another use). Make sure that the entire surface top of the fish is coated with the rub.

Pan seared stove top method:

Heat olive oil over high heat in a frying pan large enough to hold both filets.

Place fish on the pan, crust side down and turn down the heat to medium.

Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Do not be tempted to move around the fish!

Flip the fish over onto it’s skin. Cook until it’s done to your liking. Approximately 2 minutes for rare, 4 minutes for medium, 5 minutes for well done. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of your fish.

Barbeque method:

Heat the flat grill on your barbeque to medium/high heat. Place fish skin side down on the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Flip over on the crusted side of the fish and cook until it’s done to your liking. Approximately two minutes for rare, 4 minutes medium, 5-6 minutes for well done. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of your fish.

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