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Fig leaf roast salmon with harissa

By August 14, 2020 , ,

It's Kitchen Exile's 6th Birthday today, so naturally I had to celebrate with a double recipe this week. I could comment on how the time flies and all that and that Kitchen Exile is another year older and none the wiser. This year certainly has been different for me with the global pandemic it's been more of a time of reflection and comfort eating and cooking.  

This year as with every year I do have to thank you, my readers, it is nice to know that there are some people out there that read and even cook my recipes. As I've mentioned many times I started this for myself just to keep my recipes online but also as a challenge to myself to see if I could set up a website from scratch as I'm not that teccy. It also gave me the impetus to try my hand at food styling and photography. While I may have trained as a chef, my course back then didn't focus too much on plating and styling. 

So what next for Kitchen Exile? As I mentioned before this has always been a sideline hobby for me along with a full time job, with the pandemic changing things, it may mean that Kitchen Exile is now full time. So I now need to put my thinking cap on about how I take things forward and the possibilities for the site.

Once again, thank you or all your support, I hope that you are all keeping safe in these strange times and here's to many more recipes in the future. 

For many years I've been buying a ready made harissa paste, so when the shop ran out of my regular one I decided it was time to make my own. Naturally that required some research and development on my part finding the flavour profile that I liked. The paste itself is a simple enough concept, red peppers, chillies and spices. It has its origins in the middle east and the recipe will vary from country to country. It pairs well with meats such as lamb, goat and chicken or compliments rice and coucous dishes. I'm also a recent convert in the past few years to cooking with fig leaves, they have a wonderful aroma and impart a wonderful flavour to dishes, almost similar to coconut or pandan. I have a plentiful supply as I have a fig tree in my garden. 

Harissa paste
2 red peppers
2 cloves of garlic
3 red chilli peppers
5g cumin seeds 
2g coriander seeds 
2g fennel
50ml olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

I like to first chargrill the peppers on the BBQ, direct heat at 200c, keep turning until you get an even black char all over
Then setting the BBQ up for indirect cooking at 160c place the peppers chillies and garlic on a cast iron roasting tray and cook for a further 30 minutes
Place the garlic to one side
Put the peppers and chillies in a plastic bag while still hot and close the bag, it makes it easier to peel and de-seed
One they have cooled, remove from the bag and peel and de-seed the peppers
You can also peel the chillies, but up to you if you wish to remove the seeds too
Toast the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds in a pan on a medium heat for 5 minutes
place in a mortar and pestle and grind to a rough powder
Place the peppers, chillies, garlic, oil and spices in a blender and pulse until you get a smooth paste
Season to taste with the salt and pepper
Pour the harissa into a sterile jar and place the lid on, it will keep for two weeks in the fridge

For the dish
2 150g fillets of salmon skin removed
2 large fig leaves
Butchers twine
100g harissa paste

Smear the salmon fillets all over with the harissa and place in the fridge for 6 hours to marinate
While the salmon is marinating, soak the fig leaves in water
After the allotted marination time, wrap the salmon in the fig leaves and secure using the butchers twine
Set your bbq up for indirect cooking at 170c 
Cook the salmon for 20 minutes or until the filet reaches 60c in the thickest part
Serve with griddled cucumber or courgettes

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