Falafel-crusted salmon


Food & Drink - - FLAVOURS -

Save this show­stop­per for en­ter­tain­ing your hard­est-to-im­press friends. Topped with a sub­tly spiced falafel crust, and served with a cool­ing sweet-tart cu­cum­ber salad, it’s the height of sum­mery de­li­cious­ness. It’s so good fresh and hot but stands up well even cooled to room tem­per­a­ture or left overnight in the fridge. What­ever you do, don’t use canned chick­peas—they re­sult in a mushy mess rather than in a crisp coat. Plan ahead as the dried chick­peas need to soak overnight.


1 large English cu­cum­ber

1 tsp (5 mL) salt, di­vided

¼ cup (60 mL) grape-seed or mild olive oil 2 tbsp (30 mL) white wine vine­gar

1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice

1½ tsp (7 mL) sugar

½ small red onion, sliced

¼ cup (60 mL) chopped dill

¼ cup (60 mL) torn mint leaves

½ cup (125 mL) dried chick­peas, soaked overnight in wa­ter

2 tbsp (30 mL) each chopped pars­ley, mint and ci­lantro ½ small onion, roughly chopped

1 clove gar­lic

½ tsp (2 mL) ground cumin

¼ tsp (1 mL) ground co­rian­der

1¼ tsp (6 mL) salt

1 tbsp (15 mL) well-stirred tahini

½ tsp (2 mL) bak­ing pow­der

2 to 2½ lbs (1 to 1.25 kg) skin-on coho or chi­nook salmon fil­let, pin-boned

2 tbsp (30 mL) grape-seed or mild olive oil

1 Cut cu­cum­ber in half length­wise and, us­ing a tea­spoon, re­move and dis­card seeds. Thinly slice and place in a colan­der in sink. Sprin­kle with ½ tsp (2 mL) salt and let stand 30 min­utes.

2 Mean­while, com­bine re­main­ing ½ tsp (2 mL) salt, oil, vine­gar, lemon juice, sugar and red onion in a salad bowl; add drained cu­cum­ber to bowl along with dill and mint. Toss to com­bine and re­frig­er­ate for at least 1 hour be­fore serv­ing (salad may be made up to a day in ad­vance).

3 Drain chick­peas and add to food pro­ces­sor along with pars­ley, mint, ci­lantro, onion and gar­lic. Sprin­kle with cumin, co­rian­der and salt. Add tahini and bak­ing pow­der; process un­til paste comes to­gether and chick­peas are finely chopped but with some tex­ture re­main­ing. Re­frig­er­ate for 30 min­utes to firm up.

4 Ar­range salmon on a foil-lined bak­ing sheet. Firmly press falafel mix­ture evenly over top of salmon flesh to com­pletely cover. Brush falafel mix­ture with oil.

5 Broil salmon on high, 4 inches (10 cm) from broiler, for 7 to 8 min­utes or un­til top is golden and fish is medium-rare. Care­fully re­move fish from foil, leav­ing skin be­hind, and trans­fer to a plat­ter. Serve with herbed cu­cum­ber salad, spoon­ing ex­tra dress­ing around fish.

Serves 6

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