East Indian Seasoned Salmon

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Salmon is a fun food to experiment with.  There are a lot of spices and herbs that go surprisingly well with the rich flavor of salmon – even if the combinations aren’t something we’re accustomed to seeing together.  An example is today’s recipe, which uses spices more often associated with lamb and fowl dishes, and is accompanied with a cucumber and yogurt raita that would traditionally be used as a dipping sauce for kebabs or spread on pilaf dishes.

Gather Up (for the salmon):

  • 2-1/2 lb salmon fillet (skin on), pin bones removed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup ginger root, peeled and roughly chopped (yes – that is a LOT of fresh ginger)
  • 1 tbsp garam masala (look for this in the bulk spices section, or at an Indian market)
  • 2 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin seed
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard (not pictured)

Gather Up (for the raita):

  • 1 cup plain yogurt (look for cream top for the best results)
  • 2 finely chopped small scallions
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh garlic scape, finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium cucumber, seeded and finely chopped (you may peel it if you like as well – I leave the skin on)
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tsp garam masala

Preheat the grill to medium-high (400 degrees) indirect heat.  Combine all of the salmon ingredients (except the salmon, of course!) in a blender and puree until it forms a rough paste.  Spread evenly over the salmon and let sit while the grill comes to temperature.

In a small serving bowl, combine all of the raita ingredients.  Stir until well incorporated, then keep refrigerated until serving.

When the grill has warmed up, place the salmon directly on the grill, leaving the garam ginger paste on top.  Cook for about 20 minutes, until the meat is just flaky in the thickest part, but still moist.  Transfer to a platter or baking dish for serving.

Serve warm with the chilled raita on top.

For a little variation – or as an alternative to the dairy – you could also try making the raita using the thicker settled-out solids from a can of coconut milk (just be careful not to disturb or shake it when opening), or some plain coconut yogurt (make sure it doesn’t have any sweeteners in it).

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