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Tandoori-Spiced Salmon w/ Pickled Cucumber

Tandoori-Spiced Salmon

Hands down, this has become my most favorite salmon recipe. I came across it in Saveur Magazine and combined a lot of the steps and played around with the spices a little bit to better match what I had in my spice cabinet and ended up with this winner. This recipe does not use a completely traditional Tandoori spice mix, but I like to think it’s close enough in spirit? (My main spice swap is substituting smoked paprika for chili powder, but I think the smokiness adds an interesting note. If you don’t have smoked paprika, go ahead and use chili powder.)

* Because of the long marinating time, this recipe works best when you plan ahead. If you can marinate the salmon in the morning and let it sit in the fridge all day with the paprika-garlic-spice paste and then spread on the chile-yogurt after work and let that sit while the oven preheats, it’s doable during the week. But also, it makes a great weekend dinner as well.

I’ve always been more of a medium-roasted salmon fan, so I let mine go until it reaches about 130 degrees F or so and then the carry-over usually gets it to about 135. You can adjust the time in the oven to your liking, but keep in mind, you’ll need at least 13-14 minutes to develop a nice crust.

Tandoori-Spiced Salmon

Tandoori-Spiced Salmon

Tandoori-Spiced Salmon

Tandoori-Spiced Salmon

Tandoori-Spiced Salmon
Adapted from Saveur Magazine; serves 2-3
12-16 oz boneless, skin-on salmon filet
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1.5 tsp white vinegar
2 tsp smoked paprika
1⁄2 tsp ground cardamom (I use cardamom seeds that I’ve ground in a spice grinder)
1⁄2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1⁄2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup plain yogurt (Greek-style and/or 2% is fine)
1 tsp red chili paste ( I use this Thai Kitchen variety but you could also use Sambal Oelek, or one minced Thai chili)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Put salmon in a small, rimed baking dish. Add garlic, ginger, and 1 tbsp water to a food processor and chop. Add the canola oil, salt, pepper, vinegar, paprika, cardamom, garlic powder, cinnamon, cloves, and ground ginger and process until everything is mixed and you have a paste. Using a rubber spatula, smear the mixture over the salmon. Cover salmon with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight. I usually try to let the salmon sit with the spice paste for about 6-8 hours.

Combine the yogurt and the chili paste, along with a pinch of salt. Spread the yogurt mixture over salmon. Cover with plastic wrap again and refrigerate for 1 more hour. Carefully transfer salmon to an aluminum foil-covered baking sheet.

Heat oven to 500 degrees F. Bake until fish is lightly charred and cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Using a large metal spatula, transfer salmon to a serving platter (or break up to serve in individual bowls) with brown rice, cilantro, and the pickled cucumbers on the side.

Braised kale or roasted carrots are also great additions to this meal.

Quick Pickled Cucumber
1⁄2 small English cucumber, peeled, halved, and diced into half-moons
1 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
pinch crushed red pepper flakes

Toss everything together after you put the salmon in the oven and let sit (unrefrigerated) while the salmon roasts.

Winter Cooking: Kale and Black Bean Mole Enchiladas

Kale and Black Bean Mole Enchiladas
Cold wintery weather calls for something with melted cheese and bubbling sauce, right? Yeah, that’s what I thought too. And it’s really hard to go wrong with Mole Enchiladas. And when you make them a little lighter with kale and black beans instead of chicken, it’s a dinner that’ll find its way into your rotation on a regular basis–maybe even for a Meatless Monday!

For this recipe, I specify an amount of mole sauce to use. Because here’s a confession–the handful of times I’ve made mole from scratch, it’s been um, . . . → Read More: Winter Cooking: Kale and Black Bean Mole Enchiladas

Winter Cooking: Chicken Goulash with Sour Cream Dumplings

Chicken Goulash with Sour Cream Dumplings

This is the blog post where I announce a triumphant return to blogging on the regular.

Really. This time I mean it. And what better way to start mid-January 2018, than with a recipe for a smoky and delicious chicken goulash? This dish originally comes from Food and Wine Magazine but I’ve played around with it a bit and finally landed on this version. It’s a meal I make at least three or four times throughout the fall and winter. I think it’s best if you can make the goulash earlier . . . → Read More: Winter Cooking: Chicken Goulash with Sour Cream Dumplings

National Pumpkin Day: Let's Celebrate with Pumpkin, Poblano, and Manchego Soup

Pumpkin, Poblano, Manchego Soup

October 26th is National Pumpkin Day so let’s live it up with this spicy and satisfying soup!

Aside from being just plain delicious, the aroma of roasting squash and then chiles will make your kitchen smell like Fall with a capital F. You can certainly use canned pumpkin here, but there’s something to be said for diy-ing it—the slightly caramelized edges, the satisfaction of scooping out the velvety goodness from the golden pumpkin shells—it’s all part of this soup’s charm. That said, we all have jobs and responsibilities and using canned pumpkin is certainly . . . → Read More: National Pumpkin Day: Let's Celebrate with Pumpkin, Poblano, and Manchego Soup

The Perfect Fall Dessert: French Pear Cake

French Pear Cake

This cake is unlike any other I’ve made. Well, except for the apple cake that it’s based on.

But, here, in this rebooted version, pears replace the apples and pecans replace the walnuts. The pears are peeled and thinly sliced and then mixed into a very light batter. During a second trip into the oven, the brown sugar and pecan topping firms up and turns golden brown, with an almost custardy cake beneath. It’s really pretty amazing.

There may seem to be a number of steps, but don’t fear, it all comes together . . . → Read More: The Perfect Fall Dessert: French Pear Cake