I love North African and Middle Eastern flavours, but have only recently discovered harissa. Harissa is a spicy, aromatic paste used in North African and Middle Eastern food. The recipes vary a lot, but the main ingredients tend to be red peppers, chillies, garlic, olive oil, paprika and coriander. Basically lots of my favourite things!
I’ve tried out a few recipes using harissa, but by far my favourite has been this lovely recipe which pairs harissa with salmon. I used a fairly mild harissa from Bart Ingredients, which gives a subtle, spicy kick to the salmon without overpowering it. I made a simple marinade of harissa, lemon juice and olive oil and served the harissa salmon on a bed of herby couscous, which complimented the fish beautifully. It’s kind of a bit like a warm tabbouleh.
The best thing about this recipe is it takes all of about 15 minutes to make! (Though it’s even nicer if you have the time to give the fish an extra 30 minutes in the marinade.) It’s perfect for a warm summer’s evening with a glass of chilled white wine or this would work really well cold for a picnic. Give everyone their own individual box half-filled with a portion of couscous and topped with a salmon fillet – a posh picnic, but really not much more effort than making sandwiches!
Now my next challenge is to make my own harissa paste!
Harissa Salmon with Herby Couscous
- 2 tablespoons harissa paste I used one from Bart Ingredients
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
- 4 fillets of salmon about 120g each
- 300 g couscous
- Salt and pepper
- 450 ml boiling water
- Large handful of mint leaves finely chopped
- Large handful of parsley leaves finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic crushed or grated
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Olive oil
- Put the couscous in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and cover with 450ml boiling water. Cover with a plate and leave for 5 minutes.
- Pre-heat your grill to a medium/high setting.
- Put the 4 salmon fillets on a plate. Mix together 2 tablespoons of harissa paste, 4 tablespoons of olive oil and 4 tablespoons of lemon juice, plus a little salt and pepper. Spread the paste over both sides of the fish and put the fish in the grill skin side up. Grill for 4 minutes on each side. (N.B. If you have a bit more time, you could cover the salmon fillets with clingfilm and put them the fridge to marinate for 30 minutes before putting them under the grill.)
- When the couscous has had 5 minutes, fluff up with a fork and cover again for another 5 minutes.
- When the couscous is ready, stir through the chopped herbs, garlic, lemon juice, a generous drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Serve a mound of herby couscous on each plate topped with a fillet of harissa salmon. If you feel the need for some veggies, serve this with a simple side salad.