Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Salmon with Swiss Chard

This is perhaps my favorite fish dish in the world. I have had a hard time getting a good photo of it. The last time I made it, I was so eager to dig into it that I forgot to take a picture until the dish was in shambles: messy, half-eaten, unappetizing. So at last I have a photo that is good enough. You will love this dish—or at least I hope so.

2 pounds Swiss chard, red or green, about 2 bunches
5 ounces pitted Kalamata black olives
1½ pounds salmon fillets, cut into serving size pieces, skin removed if you desire

Marinade (chermüla):
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon paprika or smoky sweet paprika
¼ teaspoon ground chile molido or any chile powder
3 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon salt

1. Remove the stems from the chard; save for another purpose or compost. Wash the leaves very well to remove all the dirt and cut into ½-inch strips.
2. Put it and the olives in the top of a steamer. Cover and steam over high heat for 5-10 minutes or until the chard is al dente. Remove from the heat. Take off the lid, cover with a cloth, and leave the chard to cool.
Note: You can do this step the day before you’re making the dish, preferably before trying to stuff the unwieldy bunches of chard into your fridge.
3. Combine all the ingredients in the marinade. Rub it all over the fish and leave to marinate for at least 2 hours in a cool place. Less time is fine too.
4. When you are ready to roast the fish, spread the chard and olives on the bottom of a baking dish. Place the salmon fillets on top of the chard, skin side down, surrounded by the marinade. Pour the liquid of the marinade over everything.
5. Roast at 425ºF for about 30 minutes, checking after 25 minutes to see if the fish is done to your liking. The time depends on the thickness of the fish fillets.
6. Serve with bread to mop up the delicious sauce.

4-6 servings
Adapted from Anissa Helou’s Street Café Morocco

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