By Ismat Awan
As a child, I would often see something on TV and feel the immense need to recreate it. Whether it was an arts and craft project, writing a poem or cooking a delicious meal, creating was and still is my happy place. A part of this desire to make and create was my obsession to perfect it. To this day, this dish is my go-to summer dish and it feeds many!
Serves 10-12 hungry people
Prep time: 20 minutes (even less if you blitz everything up in a food processor because let’s face it, ain’t nobody got time for chopping).
Cooking time is 55 minutes (60, if you’re jamming to your favourite tunes while cooking).
- 4.5-5kg Tasmanian salmon – or any salmon you like. A whole fish is ideal but if that’s too scary, stick to fillets
- 20g sumac
- 20g zaatar spice mix
- Pinch of chilli flakes
- Sea salt to season
- 2-3 red chillis – finely died
- 1 red onion – finely diced
- 1 garlic clove – crushed
- 2 cups coriander – finely chopped
- ½ cup dill – finely chopped
- 170ml extra virgin olive oil (the real stuff)
- 400g natural yogurt
- 100ml tahini (or smooth natural peanut or cashew nut paste if you can’t find any)
- Lemon juice
- 1 pomegranate
- Toasted pine nuts to garnish
- Mix the garlic and salt until it’s a nice paste. Add in the yogurt, tahini and continue mixing. The consistency will be quite thick, but hang in there! Add a squeeze of lemon juice to thin it out. Add some salt to taste and pop it in the fridge.
- Preheat your oven to 150°C degrees.
- Season the fish all over with salt and pepper and drizzle it with a bit of olive oil.
- Lovingly wrap the whole salmon in baking paper and bake for 25 minutes on one side before flipping it over and baking for another 25 mins. The beauty of this dish is the egg-yolk-like salmon that collapses under any utensil. Think of silky poached egg. That’s the consistency you want.
- While the salmon is cooling, grab a bowl and combine the coriander, dill, onion, olive oil, chilli, sumac, zaatar mix, chilli flakes and salt together. Think chimichurri/salsa verde.
- Now time for assembly: carefully unwrap the salmon (will be cooked to medium rare) and using a blunt knife, scrape away the skin and discard.
- Lather a thick layer of your tahini yogurt sauce on top and then adorn with the herby dressing.
- To finish, bash the back of a halved pomegranate with a wooden spoon and bejewel your fish with the ruby seeds. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and you’re ready to go.
- Serve with crusty bread or salad – anything really! This dish is a star on its own.
Adapted from Greg Malouf’s recipe as seen on SBS TV’s Food Safari 2012.
Image sourced from Goodfood.com.au