Wednesday 28 January 2015

Salmon Pepper Parcels + Chermoula Paste

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Because who doesn't love unwrapping a present. Especially when there's food in it.

Seriously though.
This is how I want to eat everything from now on. Wrapped up. And, any chance of a bow or a few ribbons? Thought not. Might get a bit messy.

Real serious now. This recipe is a kind of two for one. And, who doesn't love a bargain? Trust me, I live with a family full of bargain hunters. These guys can spot a good deal an actual mile off.

Two recipes - one for a fragrant, herby Chermoula paste (god knows how authentic it was but it sure tasted good) and the second for juicy, self-saucing salmon pepper parcels. Yep, puddings aren't the only ones who can self-sauce. P.s. I may also throw in a third recipe for those crispy potatoes shown above. Isn't this your lucky day?

Salmon, previously: None! This is the first one!

A Simple List of Ingredients:
1. Garlic
2. Ginger
3. Jalapeno Chilli
4. Lemon
5. Salt and Pepper
6. Saffron Strands
7. Balsamic Vinegar
8. Paprika
9. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
10. Ground Cumin
11. Ground Coriander
12. Smoked Paprika
13. Fresh Coriander
14. Salmon Fillets
15. Olive Oil
16. Water
17. Cherry Tomatoes
18. Bell Peppers
19. Onions
20. Vegetable Stock Cube

Bismillah, let's begin!

First, make the chermoula paste.

6 Garlic Cloves
1 Jalapeno Chilli
2 inches Ginger

Peel the garlic and ginger.

Give them a rough chop and place into a bowl or if you are making this in a food processor, pop them into that.

Next, for a little spice.

Take 1 tablespoon Paprika.

And, add it to the bowl.

Followed by 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika.

Sprinkle that on in there too.

Next, my mother's favourite - ground cumin!

Add in 1 tablespoon Ground Cumin.

Next, measure out 1 tablespoon Ground Coriander.

And, sprinkle that in too.

Followed by a pinch of Saffron Strands.

Next, a few liquids and seasoning.

Measure out 2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar.

And, pour it in.

Followed by extra-virgin olive oil.

Pour in 3 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil.

Now, time for a little citrus in the form of a lemon.

Take 1 Lemon.

And, squeeze in the juice. I only ended up using 3/4 of it because it was quite big.

That's it for the supporting cast.

It's time for the star of this show - fresh coriander. Grab 1 large bunch Fresh Coriander.

Try and get the freshest bunch you can - stalks and all. Yes, Mother. You were right. The flavour is in the stalks after all.

Give the coriander a rough chop and a rinse.

If you're making this in a food processor, give everything a blend. Otherwise, stir it up.

Add in the fresh coriander.

Grab your hand blender (or food processor) and get blitzing!

Blend until you have a smooth paste.

Finally, season with Salt and Pepper, to taste.

Stir it up and the chermoula paste is ready! This recipe makes more than is needed for the salmon and can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days - use in chicken, fish and veggie dishes.

Now, onto the salmon pepper parcels. First, pre-heat the oven to 200C or 180C or Gas Mark 6.

This is the amount I used.

Gather together your ingredients and let's do this!

Take 540 grams packet Salmon Fillets - for me, this was 5 large fillets.

Which I ended up slicing in half because I felt they were too big.

Season both sides with Salt and Pepper, to taste.

Take your chermoula paste.

And, spread liberally onto one side of each fillet. Set aside whilst you work on the veggies.

Take 2 Bell Peppers. Any colour will do but I prefer the red and orange to the green

Slice up the peppers.

Then, get yourself 2 small Onions.

Then, give them a peel and thinly slice too.

To cook, grab a frying pan and place over a medium heat.

Drizzle in 1 teaspoon Olive Oil.

And, let it heat up.

Throw in those beautiful peppers.

And, onions!

Give them a stir and then fry for 4 minutes until softened.

I usually cover them for this - I find it helps speed up the softening process (perfect for weeknights).

Once softened ...

... take 100ml Water and a Vegetable Stock Cube.

Pour in the water.

And, crumble in the stock cube.

Mix and then on a medium heat, let the water evaporate and disappear.

Then, take 200 grams Cherry Tomatoes.

Slice each one in half. 

Throw in the cherry toms.

Turn the heat down for 5 minutes and let the tomatoes break down slightly.

Again, a lid comes in handy here.

While the tomatoes soften, take a small handful of Fresh Coriander.

And, a Lemon.

Zest the lemon and roughly chop the coriander.

After 5 minutes ...

.. add the fresh coriander and ..

.. the lemon zest.

Give it a quick stir.

And, take it off the heat.

So, now you have your chermoula covered salmon and your vibrant, colourful veggie mixture.

To assemble the parcels, take a piece of foil.

Place on a piece of salmon.

Top it with a slice of Lemon.

Spoon some of the pepper mixture around the salmon.

Wrap the parcel up so that there are no gaps. Resist the urge for ribbons and bows.

Make the rest of the parcels and place onto a baking tray.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until the salmon is cooked. This is when it flakes easily with a fork.

And, now a quick side dish. One of my favourites, in fact. I took already boiled or steamed veggies.

Popped them into a pan with any oil (vegetable / olive / coconut / butter) and let them get really brown and crispy.

The secret is not to touch them. Leave them on a medium to low heat for 5 minutes and then flip and see how crispy they are. If they could go for longer, leave them. Otherwise, turn and brown the second side.
To finish, season really well with salt and pepper.

Once the salmon is cooked, place the parcel straight onto a plate along with the veggies.

Let people unwrap their own parcel. The salmon will be beautiful and full of flavour. And, underneath it will be the most perfect sauce - ready to be mopped up with all those potatoes.

This recipe has become a real favourite in our house and any leftover salmon is perfect in fishcakes the next day.

Full Written Recipe:

Chermoula Salmon and Pepper Parcels

Adapted from BBC Food

Prep Time: About 35 minutes
Cook Time: About 12-15 minutes
Serves: 10 portions (depending on how big you slice the salmon fillets)


For the Chermoula
6 Garlic Cloves, peeled and chopped
1 Jalapeno Chilli, chopped
2 inch piece Ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon Paprika
1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1 tablespoon Ground Cumin
1 tablespoon Ground Coriander
Pinch of Saffron Strands
2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
3 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 Lemon, juice only
1 large bunch Fresh Coriander, roughly chopped
Salt and Black Pepper, to taste

For the Salmon Pepper Parcels
540 gram packet Salmon Fillets (about 5 fillets)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 Bell Peppers, sliced
2 small Onions, peeled and sliced thinly
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
100ml Water
1 Vegetable Stock Cube
200 grams Cherry Tomatoes, halved
Small handful Fresh Coriander, chopped
Zest of 1 Lemon
1 Lemon, sliced into rounds


First, make the chermoula. Place everything except into a blender, and blend to a smooth paste.

Then, add the fresh coriander and blitz again to smooth.

Season with salt and pepper, and taste. Adjust the seasoning, if needed.

NOTE: This recipe makes more chermoula paste than needed. Store the rest in the fridge for up to 4 days and use in other fish, chicken or veggie dishes. 

Pre-heat the oven to 200C or 180C fan or Gas Mark 6. 

Next, to make the salmon pepper parcels. Slice the salmon into pieces. I sliced 5 large fillets in half to make 10 parcels.

Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper, on both sides. Spread one side liberally with the chermoula paste. Set aside.

To make the peppers for the parcels, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the bell peppers and onion. Fry for 4 minutes until they start to soften. I usually cover them with a lid to do this.

Next, pour in the water and crumble in the stock cube. Mix and then on a medium heat, let the stock evaporate (disappear).

Add the cherry tomatoes and turn the heat down for 5 minutes until they begin to break down slightly. I usually cover the pan at this point too.

Finally, add the fresh coriander and lemon zest. Also, season with salt and pepper, to taste.

To make the parcels, take a piece of foil for each salmon fillet. Place on the salmon followed by a lemon slice. Place a few tablespoons of the pepper mixture around the salmon.
Wrap the foil tightly so that there are no gaps, and place onto a baking tray.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the salmon is cooked through. This is when the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Serve with roasted vegetables or couscous and black olives. Enjoy!

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Keep me in your duas, please, and have a beautiful day!


Spice Enthusiast
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