Salmon with Harissa, Soy and Castelvetrano Olives
by Danielle Oron
If you make salmon on a regular basis, you know how quickly it can come together. But if you make it on a regular basis, like us, you also stop getting excited for salmon night. When I ask my husband what we should make for dinner and he says “salmon,” it almost sounds like a sigh and a shrug. Get excited, my friends, because this is the salmon recipe that will bring back the love. And if you don’t normally make salmon at home, this is a great recipe to get you started. It’s pretty foolproof.
The trick with salmon is to cook it high and quick or low and super-slow. You can also cure it, but that’s for another time. I broil mine on high for six to seven minutes and it’s totally ready. A spicy, sweet and salty marinade/sauce comes together real quick with a match made in heaven: harissa, honey and soy sauce. I don’t bother pulling out a knife for this recipe because I believe that olives taste better when torn. All those rough edges just make it. I use Castelvetrano olives, which are beautifully bright green and have good meaty flesh that holds up to the broiler heat. Serve this with wild rice or farro.
3 tbsp to 1/3 cup (45 to 80 g) harissa (depending on how spicy the harissa is)
2 tbsp (40 g) honey
3 tbsp (45 ml) soy sauce
2 tsp (10 ml) sesame oil
2 tsp (5 g) black sesame seeds
4 skinless salmon fillets (5 to 6 oz [140 to 170 g] each), any pin bones removed
1 1/2 cups (270 g) Castelvetrano olives, pitted and torn in half
In a bowl, whisk together the harissa, honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds and salt. Transfer half of the mixture into a resealable plastic bag and add the salmon fillets to the bag. Seal and very gently move the bag around to cover the salmon with the marinade. Set in the fridge to marinate for 25 to 30 minutes.
With the oven rack in the upper third position, preheat the broiler to high.
On a rimmed baking sheet, spread out the olives in a single layer, making sure they are not spread out too much. Remove the salmon fillets from the marinade and lay over the olives, leaving 1 inch (2.5 cm) of space between the fillets. The salmon should not be touching the baking sheet. Discard the bagged marinade.
Broil on high for 6 to 7 minutes, basting every 2 to 3 minutes with the reserved marinade, or until the salmon is charred and cooked to medium rare. Serve with the remaining reserved marinade as a sauce.
Store-bought harissa can vary from very mild to very hot. Be sure to taste it beforehand, so that you know how much spice you’re adding.
If you can’t find Castelvetrano olives, use any other mild, salt-brined green olives.