Don't Hesitate To Spice Up Your Salmon With Plenty Of Harissa

Chilies may come from Mexico, but they've become a key ingredient in cuisines across the globe. In Vietnam, freshly sliced chilies adorn steaming bowls of Pho or green papaya salad. In China, chili oil is a widespread condiment to spice up dumplings or noodles. In the Mediterranean and North Africa, harissa is the dried-chili-infused paste that adds spice and depth to sauces, stews, soups, and meat. It's also the unexpected ingredient that'll take your salmon filet to the next level.

Not only does harissa have dried chilies, but it also contains garlic, caraway, and coriander, delivering a well-balanced trifecta of spicy, aromatic, and savory to pair with an umami-rich salmon filet. Referred to as the national condiment of Tunisia, harissa is often used to season fish soup, reinforcing its viability as a worthy pairing for fish dishes.

Harissa comes in bottles and tubes, possessing a thick consistency that you can combine with other common marinade liquids or use alone to create a rich coating that'll bring a pop of red to salmon's pink flesh. Furthermore, since harissa is a multi-ingredient paste, it saves you the trouble of creating an elaborate marinade, glaze, or sauce for your salmon. Since harissa is a key condiment in numerous nations, its ingredients will vary depending on the brand you buy. Consequently, some harissa is spicier while others are smokier and slightly sweet. You could even make your own harissa with this recipe for Balaboosta harissa adapted by Tasting Table.

Ways to incorporate harissa into your salmon recipe

No matter the spice level of the harissa you choose, it will all pair wonderfully with salmon. Plus, you have various avenues for incorporating harissa into a salmon recipe. This harissa baked salmon from Tasting Table recipe developer Susan Olayinka demonstrates that harissa is the only condiment you need to elevate a filet of salmon. Her three-ingredient recipe adds a drizzle of olive oil and salt to the salmon before brushing the filets with harissa paste and baking them.

Another avenue is making a sweet and spicy harissa glaze with honey, harissa, olive oil, cumin, and cloves. You can brush it over the flesh of salmon filets before baking them. Other tasty ingredients to add to a harissa glaze include lemon or orange juice and zest, smoked paprika, sumac, and dried mint. You could also make a quick marinade out of harissa, sour yogurt, garlic, and lemon juice for grilled or pan-fried salmon.

Even if you want to cook salmon simply with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, you can adorn it with a rich blended sauce of sun-dried tomatoes, harissa, olive oil, garlic, sherry vinegar, and a splash of cream. This sauce would also work well in a creamy salmon pasta or couscous dish garnished with capers, fresh dill, lemon juice, and kalamata olives.