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Lemony Salmon With Cherry Tomato Couscous

by . Featured in KITCHEN
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Introduction

This is one of those recipes that is easier to follow than to write: that's to say, there are many bowls involved, which might make this look troublesome and fiddly, but the actual process involved is almost insultingly simple.

Now, I know that it is not strictly right to indicate that you cook couscous by pouring boiling water over it. In an ideal world, I accept, one should soak the grains in cold water before steaming them over hot, but I take the shortcut, and repeatedly and I apologize to those whom I thereby offend.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

This is one of those recipes that is easier to follow than to write: that's to say, there are many bowls involved, which might make this look troublesome and fiddly, but the actual process involved is almost insultingly simple.

Now, I know that it is not strictly right to indicate that you cook couscous by pouring boiling water over it. In an ideal world, I accept, one should soak the grains in cold water before steaming them over hot, but I take the shortcut, and repeatedly and I apologize to those whom I thereby offend.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Lemony Salmon with Cherry Tomato Couscous
Photo by Lis Parsons

Ingredients

Serves: 4

Metric Cups
  • 200 grams couscous
  • 3 teaspoons Maldon sea salt flakes or 1½ teaspoons pouring salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 x 15ml tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • ½ small red onion (finely chopped)
  • zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 1 x 15ml tablespoon garlic infused olive oil plus 1 teaspoon more
  • 300 grams cherry tomatoes
  • 4 Alaskan, organic or ASC-certified Scottish salmon fillets
  • 4 x 15ml tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 heaping cup couscous
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt or 1½ teaspoons pouring salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh gingerroot
  • ½ small red onion (finely chopped)
  • zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 1 tablespoon garlic flavored oil plus 1 teaspoon more
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 4 Alaskan, organic or ASC-certified Scottish salmon fillets
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

Method

  1. Put the couscous into a Pyrex or similar heatproof bowl, with 2 teaspoons sea salt flakes (or 1 teaspoon pouring salt), ¼ teaspoon of the paprika and all the grated ginger. Give everything a bit of a mix before pouring over it 250ml/1 cup of freshly boiled water. Cover the bowl, either with clingfilm or a plate, and leave to one side.
  2. Into another bowl, put the finely chopped onion.
  3. Now get out a wide, shallow dish, big enough to take the salmon fillets later, and zest the lemon into it.
  4. Now, back to your onion bowl, and squeeze in the lemon juice.
  5. Over to the "zest" dish, and add the remaining salt and the paprika and stir in the 1 tablespoon garlic oil.
  6. Halve the cherry tomatoes and put them into yet another bowl; pour the extra teaspoon garlic oil over them, mix about a bit, then leave to one side.
  7. Heat a large frying pan for the salmon fillets. While the pan's getting hot, turn them, both sides, in the "zest" dish to coat them with the zest, paprika and oily salt.
  8. Place the fillets in the hot pan and cook for 2-3 minutes a side — depending on thickness: you want these still juicy and a vivid coral colour in the middle, so do check as you cook.
  9. Meanwhile, uncover and fluff up the couscous, which should have absorbed all the water, then tip the tomatoes with lemony onion, juice and all, into the couscous, mixing with a fork.
  10. Add nearly all the fresh coriander to the couscous, and stir it through, then taste for seasoning, adding more salt if you need to.
  11. Spoon some couscous onto each plate and place a salmon fillet alongside, sprinkling with a little more fresh coriander as you hand out each plate.
  1. Put the couscous into a Pyrex or similar heatproof bowl, with 2 teaspoons sea salt flakes (or 1 teaspoon pouring salt), ¼ teaspoon of the paprika and all the grated ginger. Give everything a bit of a mix before pouring over it 250ml/1 cup of freshly boiled water. Cover the bowl, either with clingfilm or a plate, and leave to one side.
  2. Into another bowl, put the finely chopped onion.
  3. Now get out a wide, shallow dish, big enough to take the salmon fillets later, and zest the lemon into it.
  4. Now, back to your onion bowl, and squeeze in the lemon juice.
  5. Over to the "zest" dish, and add the remaining salt and the paprika and stir in the 1 tablespoon garlic oil.
  6. Halve the cherry tomatoes and put them into yet another bowl; pour the extra teaspoon garlic oil over them, mix about a bit, then leave to one side.
  7. Heat a large frying pan for the salmon fillets. While the pan's getting hot, turn them, both sides, in the "zest" dish to coat them with the zest, paprika and oily salt.
  8. Place the fillets in the hot pan and cook for 2-3 minutes a side — depending on thickness: you want these still juicy and a vivid coral colour in the middle, so do check as you cook.
  9. Meanwhile, uncover and fluff up the couscous, which should have absorbed all the water, then tip the tomatoes with lemony onion, juice and all, into the couscous, mixing with a fork.
  10. Add nearly all the cilantro to the couscous, and stir it through, then taste for seasoning, adding more salt if you need to.
  11. Spoon some couscous onto each plate and place a salmon fillet alongside, sprinkling with a little more cilantro as you hand out each plate.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
Leftovers of salmon and couscous should be refrigerated as quickly as possible and within 2 hours. Store in the fridge in separate containers for up to 3 days. Eat cold.

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
Leftovers of salmon and couscous should be refrigerated as quickly as possible and within 2 hours. Store in the fridge in separate containers for up to 3 days. Eat cold.

Tell us what you think

What 3 Others have said

  • I don't think I've ever had salmon this easy to eat! The fragrant paprika and ginger get balanced out so well by the lemon and coriander. Cherry tomatoes remove the dryness risk that comes with couscous too. As a bonus the leftovers were just as good cold a day later. This is a new staple for me!

    Posted by Ambroos on 7th February 2024
  • I made this yesterday with some sea bream fillets, instead, and it was lovely. I had defrosted them and didn’t really know what to do with them.

    My husband who doesn’t actually care for couscous, absolutely loved it and asked me to make it again this week. His face was a picture!

    So, naturally, i was thrilled, and it was such a doddle to make, too; so I would like to thank Nigella yet again for another winning meal.

    Nigella never lets me down!

    Posted by Chairman_Miaow on 24th January 2023
  • This was delicious, particularly with fresh-caught salmon. The number of bowls didn't bother me. But, sometimes recipes give one total amount for an ingredient that has to be split in the making. Here, it was salt and paprika. In a hurry to make dinner, I missed this. Overall, a wonderful way to have salmon with a lovely side and crispy lemony skin. Will definitely make it again--and read through the instructions first!

    Posted by Evitapaz on 19th May 2020
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