Jake Cohen’s Iraqi Roasted Salmon with Tomato and Lemon
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Salmon has become one of your go-to dinners, since it’s a cinch to make and cooks in a flash. But your old standards have been feeling a little stale. We’ve got just the recipe to bring your favorite weeknight meal back to life: Iraqi roasted salmon with tomato and lemon, from Jake Cohen’s new cookbook Jew-ish.
Cohen learned the recipe from his Persian-Iraqi husband’s mother, who inherited it from her mother. “This dish is truly an awakening of flavor,” says Cohen. “As soon as you make it, it’s damn near impossible to go back to preparing salmon any other way.” And we can see why: The salmon is bright with citric acidity and bursting with flavor, thanks to Cohen’s simplified spice mix that mimics Iraqi curry powder.
If you’re only whipping up a few fillets instead of a whole side of fish, just spoon a few tablespoons of the tomato mixture on top of them before roasting. You can also prepare the caramelized onions and tomato paste a few days in advance—they freeze like a charm.
Excerpted from Jew-ish: A Cookbook: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch © 2021 by Jake Cohen. Photography © 2021 by Matt Taylor-Gross. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, minced
2 scallions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
One 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
One 3-pound whole side of salmon, skin-on
Lemon wedges, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 475°F. Line a half sheet pan with aluminum foil.
2. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and scallion whites and cook, stirring often, until softened and lightly caramelized, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the coriander, cumin, turmeric and cayenne and cook, stirring continuously, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
3. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until well incorporated and caramelized to the color of rust, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest. Season with salt and let cool slightly.
4. Place the side of salmon on the prepared sheet pan, skin-side down (and arranged diagonally to fit, if necessary), and season with a heavy pinch of salt. Spread the tomato mixture over the top of the salmon in an even layer. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until the salmon is golden and reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. (If desired, broil the salmon for about 2 to 3 minutes to get more color.)
5. Garnish the salmon with the scallion greens, then serve with lemon wedges.