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Moroccan Grilled Salmon
Summers in Austin, Texas, are hot, humid, and oh so long. One afternoon, deep in the triple- digit days, a frosty package arrived on my front porch: a box of 18-inch-long salmon fillets direct from my friend Cheryl in the forty-ninth state. She’s courageous and spicy, the kind of friend that’s always in your corner. So when I made this recipe the first time, I channeled those qualities, gathered my courage, stood over the grill with commitment, and flipped that giant salmon fillet whole. I encourage you to do the same.
No grill? No problem!
Follow the recipe below then bake the salmon in the oven at 450F for 12-15 minutes.
Salmon a L’Afrique du Nord from Well Fed
Serves 6-8 | Prep 5 minutes | Marinate 30 minutes | Cook 6-7 minutes | Whole30 compliant
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1/2 tablespoon dried ginger
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 1/2 to 2 pounds salmon fillets
Mix the oil, orange juice, ginger, cumin, coriander, paprika, salt, and cayenne together in a small bowl to form a paste the consistency of thick salad dressing. This will transform into a gorgeous crust during grilling.
Place the salmon in a glass dish, massage the marinade over the salmon, then cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat a gas grill on high with the lid closed for about 10 minutes, then place the salmon skin-side down, close the lid, and wait 3 minutes. Check the salmon; the skin should be a little blackened and starting to separate from the pink flesh. Take a deep breath, gather your confidence, slide a grill-safe flipper under the fillet, and flip! Breathe a sigh of relief, close the lid, and wait another 3 minutes.
No grill? Bake in a 450F oven for 12-15 minutes.
Remove from the grill and eat like a cave person. I like to include a little piece of the crispy skin with each serving.
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I can attest to the amazingness of this recipe. I've honestly never had salmon so good. The crust from the seasoning really made it sing. Mel's like a wizard in the kitchen.
Sweet talker! Thanks, Blake.
All credit must go to Cook's Illustrated and my reading comprehension skills. No cooking wizardry involved. ANYONE can make this. Really, people. YOU can make this. Easy-peasy.
This was amazing! Can't wait to make it again for friends.
Hey, Suzanne! I'm glad you liked it!
I'm thinking about trying to make salmon salad with leftovers today… homemade mayo, salmon, a squeeze of lemon, and a bed of field greens. I'll let you know how it turns out.
I wish I could eat fish. I have tried and tried and just can't get my head around it.
Use the marinade on skinless, boneless chicken thighs. Grill 4-5 minutes per side on high heat with the lid closed. Eat with orange salad. Enjoy!
Confession – As much as I love to cook, I’m probably the least competent at cooking my favorite food – fish. That is, until I tried this recipe. I had one of those “Damn this is good!” out loud moments. I liked the marinade so much that I made more and rubbed it all over the veggies I was grilling too. Thank you thank you thank you Melicious! This recipe will be on heavy rotation for sure!
Note: With your addition of paprika in the cookbook version, I personally would cut down on the salt a little, but that’s just me 🙂
Right on! Glad to hear that you had fish-cooking success — and yeah, that marinade is pretty awesome. Moroccan spices are just so flexible and friendly.
this sounds really yumm…i cook a lot of pakitani food and this seems like something my family would really enjoy … do you have any ideas for bbq-ing white fish?
Made this last night on charcoal grill. Turned out perfect – crispy and yummy. The salmon marinated while the coals got hot. Thanks for sharing. I, too, am I Cook’s Illustrated fan and have several of their books & old mags. I should re-read.
Ahhh! I made this tonight for a crowd and it was amazing. Everyone, but everyone, was begging to know where I found the recipe.
Hooray! Glad you enjoyed it!
This sounds (and looks) like a yummy recipe. I wonder… Do you think this recipe could be successful with another alternative cooking method? Broiling? Baking? Cuz I don’t have a grill 🙁
Sure! Broil 5-7 minutes
Or bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes.
Used your cookbook recipe, which I think only differs with coconut oil, and broiled the salmon and served it with the orange salad. Excellent!! Your recipes never disappoint!! Thanks for another great dinner!!
Just made this in the oven, 350 for 15 minutes, and it was fabulous! My new favorite salmon recipe–looking forward to trying the rub on chicken!
Is this a spicy dish? I am sensitive to too much heat, but the reviews sound so good I’d like to try this!
It’s not hot, but if you’re sensitive, you might just skip the cayenne pepper. It will still taste great with just the other spices.
I got some sockeye on sale and decided to try this. I was a little afraid of the ‘flip’, but it was easy. Awesome.
Right on! Glad you liked it — and congrats on the flip!
My family loves this recipe! So good with the Moroccan Orange Salad!
In your first Well Fed cookbook, I noticed that sometimes you list dried ginger and sometimes powdered ginger. Do both of these mean the same thing?
Yes! The discrepancy in naming is an editing error — I mean the same thing by both those terms. Sorry for any confusion!
I received my Well Fed 2 yesterday, and I am pretty excited! I have the chicken that Nom Nom shared all set for tomorrow. But I have been meaning to tell you for some time that between this Moroccan salmon and the stove top carnitas, my 11 year old son would be happy forever. I am usually making one or the other EVERY WEEK. I still have work to do to get him to eat vegetables, but no problem on the meat front, at least not with your recipes. Thank you so much. He doesn’t even think of it as paleo, he thinks of it as GOOD (and so do I. We never have enough leftovers.) I can’t wait to make it through WF2!!
I love the idea of an 11-year-old demanding Moroccan salmon. That’s the awesomest.
Hope you find new favorites in Well Fed 2. Happy cooking!
Anything that is cooked,grilled or by any other cooking method should have the side cooked first that’s is presented upward. In this case the salmon is presented skin side down when plated, so it should be cooked skin side up first. I you are worried about the salmon stocking to the grill,oil it . It will release as soon as it’s ready to be turned. It’s three don’t way with all grilled mats that have a tendency to stick to the grill, as soon as they are ready to be turned the meat will realease from the grill.
Has anyone tried this recipe using the oven or broiler? Any recommendations for temperature/time? Thank you!
While I haven’t made the recipe yet, I would assume you should be able to make it in the broiler with no problem.
Most broilers have the Hi/Lo settings. I would set my rack on the middle or the next one up (hope that makes sense). I would just check it every few minutes to make sure its cooking well (if you need a time, I would use the one provided in the recipe, but still keep an eye on it). If needed, for the last few minutes, you could even raise the salmon to the top rake to get that charred/crisped on the salmon.
Oh! Just saw my question answered above. On another note – what veggie side dishes do you recommend to go with this?
Did you score the salmon to ensure the rub stays on or does it stick pretty well on its own?
No need to score the salmon. Hope you enjoy this recipe!
I found this way to hot and salty for my tastes (same with the best stir fry sauce –too hot). So maybe the answer is just to reduce the hot and the salt but I wondered if anyone else had this experience. I actually scraped the ‘crust’ off so that I could eat it 😀 Thanks!!
I generally make my recipes fairly spicy because I like them that way. Now that you know you don’t, I recommend you cut the spices in half when you make something like this that’s spice-heavy. You can ALWAYS reduce the spices in a recipe without “ruining” it — just make it the way you like it.
Thank you so much for your reply. My kids got your cook-books for me for Christmas and I’ve become an amazing cook!! haha. Impress company 😀
hay melicious. can i change coconut oil with another oil?olive oil maybe?
great recipe!cant wait to try them
Yep, olive oil is a good option.
Ok. I have my salmon marinating happily. I ran our of dried/powdered ginger so used a micro plane for fresh ginger. Hope it works. We all love salmon. Nice to have a new recipe to try. Thank you.
Such a lovely meal. Might add more orange next time but cumin and coriander were the stars. Oh and the salmon. Tasmanian even. Bliss
Best salmon recipe ever, anywhere. We had it with cumin-roasted carrots and an arugula salad. Was a smashingly good dinner. I highly recommend Melissa’s “Well Fed” cookbook.
That’s so awesome! I’m really glad you enjoyed it — thanks for the Well Fed love!
I was looking up the salmon recipe for this weekend and noticed that the link to Moroccan Orange Salad under “Tasty ideas” is broken.
Looking forward to the salmon! I’ve been on a big fish kick lately.
Thanks for the heads-up!
OMG! Best salmon we have ever had. Sooo tender and flaky and delicious. Thanks for a great recipe!