Monday, November 21, 2005

Moroccan-spiced salmon with (sort-of) tabbouleh and wilted spinach

This meal was a combo of two different cooking classes I've taken in the past year: one on fish at Be Gourmet in Silverlake, the other on grilling at Hip Cooks at the Brewery downtown. I vastly prefer the classes at Be Gourmet, with chef Tim Ross in his home kitchen. The classes are small (3-5 people), personal, reasonably priced, and I have picked up both new (or improved) techniques and new, easy recipes in the three classes I've taken there. Starting with the name, HipCooks wasn't my favorite. I did learn about a great Armenian market in my neighborhood, and we got a lot of chopping practice. However, while eating the dinner we had constructed, a few friends of the instructor Monika, came over and she started chatting with them, ignoring the class. Then, when it was time for "clean-up" she sat drinking the rest of the wine with her friends, while we followed her instructions. Not that I mind helping clean, but for $50 a pop, I don't expect to scrub her kitchen.

Anyway, to the food. The Moroccan-spiced fish couldn't be easier. Preheat oven to 400. Whirl some coriander, fennel, and cumin seeds in a spice mill (aka an old coffee grinder). Mix in some salt and pepper. Cut your salmon into 2-3 in. cubes, and dip one side in the spice mix. Place the fish pieces spice-side down in a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until spices are fragrant and toasty (about 3-4 minutes). Place skillet in oven until fish is cooked thru, about 30 sec-1 minute.

In class, we served this over some wilted spinach with a spicy harissa dressing. Having no harissa on hand, I threw together a half-assed tabbouleh--bulghar, dried mint, lemon, dried cranberries and pine nuts. This was loosely based on the good tabbouleh recipe I got out of the HipCooks class--really less a recipe and more a list of possible add-ins--finely diced fennel, hazelnuts, pomegranate seeds, etc. Matched the salmon nicely, and with the spinach, it was a healthy, flavorful meal.

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