Steamed Salmon with Chermoula

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

Chermoula is a cilantro- and parsley-based pesto, Moroccan style. Here, it adds fresh and tangy flavors that steam along with the salmon. Leftover sauce is delicious mixed with pasta or roasted vegetables. To round out the meal, serve the salmon with a side of quinoa or roasted potatoes.


For the chermoula:

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup (1/3 oz./10 g) firmly packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/3 cup (1/3 oz./10 g) firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cumin  
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper  
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) olive oil

  • 4 skinless center-cut salmon fillets, each about 6 oz. (185 g)


To make the chermoula, turn on a food processor and drop the garlic cloves, one at a time, through the feed tube to mince them. Stop the machine and add the cilantro, parsley, lemon juice, salt, paprika, cumin and cayenne and process until blended. Scrape down the sides of the processor with a rubber spatula. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil, processing until the chermoula is smooth and thickened. Measure 3 Tbs. of the chermoula and set aside. Put the rest in a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate.

Put the salmon on a platter and rub both sides of the fillets with the 3 Tbs. chermoula. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours.

Remove the fish and the remaining sauce from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Pour water into a wide saucepan to a depth of about 1 inch (2.5 cm) and set a steamer rack in the pan. Bring the water to a simmer over medium-low heat. Arrange the salmon fillets on a heatproof plate, place the plate on the rack and cover the pan tightly. Steam until the fish is firm to the touch and is barely opaque throughout when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, about 8 minutes.

Transfer the fish to warmed individual plates and top each fillet with a generous spoonful of the chermoula. Pass the remaining chermoula at the table. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Cook Good Food (Weldon Owen, 2014).

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