Crispy salmon with Indian spices and jeweled basmati rice: a vibrant salmon recipe that is pretty when plated and delicious when devoured.Spice-rubbed salmon served over almond-and-raisin studded basmati rice and garnished with fresh mint, orange zest, and Greek yogurt. This meal is downright sultry and firing on ALL cylinders.
It boasts all of the appeal of a restaurant-style family meal, yet is easy enough to pull together on any given weeknight and striking enough for entertaining. Plus, it’s packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich spices, and plenty of other good-for-you nutrients. This salmon is prepared a little differently than most pan-seared salmon. Standard protocol is to start the fish skin-side down in the skillet, letting the skin crisp up before flipping the fish over and finishing on the more delicate, flesh side. Though since a lot of folks discard the skin regardless of how deliciously crispy it gets, I aim to ensure the fish gets equally crispy on the flesh side.
When cooking any type of protein in a skillet of hot oil, the side that hits the oil first will always get crispier than the turn side—It’s just a fact a life. So, by starting the salmon in the skillet on the flesh side, we get a super-crispy, heavily-spiced crust that is unparalleled.
A couple other pointers key in achieving maximum-level crispiness and all-around delicious, restaurant-quality fish:
*Choose fresh, QUALITY fish. Whether it be from a trusted fishmonger or frozen fish from a sustainable farm or fishing service, starting with good fish is key.
*Look for filets that are as evenly sized as possible to avoid varying cook times.
*Make sure the oil is HOT before the adding the fish to the pan, and avoid overcrowding the filets. Overcrowding anything leads to steaming which hinders browning.Now let’s talk about this beautiful basmati rice.
Basmati is technically a long-grain rice which helps the grains remain individual when cooked, as opposed to clump together, allowing sauces and spices to coat each grain for maximum flavor. It’s the perfect contender for both pilafs and pumped-up rice dishes like this.
Add whichever dried fruit or nut you desire: raisins, dried apricots, goji berries, sliced almonds, or pistachios are all great options. You could also embellish it with fresh fruit such as orange wedges (shown here) or pomegranate arils. The orange juice and zest add a lively, citrus punch while the fresh mint balances the warm spices. Topping the salmon with a dollop of orange-spiked Greek yogurt adds creaminess and a cooling counterbalance to the warm spices. Sprinkle with fresh chopped mint and this impressive meal is a surefire way to gain the whole family’s approval.
Or basically the heart of anyone you’re cooking for.
Crispy Salmon with Indian Spices and Jeweled Rice
- 1 cup dry basmati rice well rinsed, drained
- 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 4 6-oz. skin-on salmon fillets
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric divided
- 1 tsp. cumin divided
- 1/2 tsp. coriander
- 1 tsp. kosher salt divided
- 1 large shallot finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Zest and juice of 1 orange
- 1/3 cup raisins or dried chopped apricots
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds or pistachios
- 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint plus more for garnish
- Plain whole-milk Greek yogurt mixed with a splash of fresh orange juice for garnish
- Cook rice according to package instructions with a dash of salt, if desired. Set aside.
- Place salmon in a large, shallow dish. Coat with 1 Tbsp. of the oil. Place paprika, 1/2 tsp. of the turmeric, 1/2 tsp. of the cumin, coriander, and 1/2 tsp. of the salt in a small bowl; stir to combine. Rub spice mixture evenly over flesh of salmon. Let rest for 15 minutes at room temperature.
- Heat 2 Tbsp. of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic; cook 3 to 4 minutes, until shallot becomes translucent. Stir in remaining 1 tsp. turmeric, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring often, until aromatic. Add rice to pan; stirring well to coat. Cook 5 to 7 minutes, stirring only occasionally to let rice slightly crisp on the bottom. Stir in orange zest and juice, raisins, almonds, and fresh mint. Set aside.
- In a separate large skillet, heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil over medium-high. Add salmon fillets, flesh-side down, and cook 4 to 5 minutes, undisturbed, until crispy. Flip and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets, until desired degree of doneness.
- To assemble, spread rice evenly on a serving platter. Top with salmon fillets and garnish with a dollop of Greek yogurt mixed with fresh orange juice (if desired) and fresh mint.