salmon, spinach and chermoula rolls

belinda jeffery's recipes

My recipes are easy. They’re for the food I like to eat. Simple, fresh, full of flavour and just a bit different. You certainly don't need any great cooking skills for them, you just need to like food and like eating – just like me. The rest is simple.

salmon, spinach and chermoula rolls

More often than not I’m perfectly happy with a simple piece of grilled salmon accompanied by nothing more than a squeeze of lemon juice. But sometimes I just get a craving for something a bit more complex and interesting, and if I do it’s hard for me to go past this tart, spicy Moroccan marinade that add so much verve to whatever it’s used with.

This particular dish came about through one of those happy coincidences when I happened to have rather a lot of chermoula leftover in the fridge and was wondering what to do to dress up some salmon fillets for dinner. Well, one thing led to another and these lovely rolls are the result. They look and taste wonderful, and are fantastic for a dinner party, as they can be made well ahead and simply popped in the oven to cook when you need them.

4 small fillets of Atlantic salmon (or ocean trout), skin off
12-16 large English spinach leaves, washed and stalks removed
lemon wedges, to serve

chermoula
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons freshly ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup (60ml) lemon or lime juice
1 small red chilli, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped coriander
1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil

tomato salad
4-5 large ripe tomatoes, seeded and sliced
1/2 small red onion, very finely sliced
1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cumin seeds
good pinch of smoked paprika (you could use sumac instead)
1 tablespoon lemon juice, or more to taste
sea salt, to taste
handful of small black olives
tiny coriander leaves, to garnish

For the chermoula, put all the ingredients into a bowl and thoroughly mix them together. Set the bowl aside in a cool spot while you prepare the salmon.

Trim the fillets up a bit, removing the thinner ‘tail’ if necessary, so they are roughly log-shaped (hang onto the trimmings as you can make extra rolls from these.) Pop all the fish onto a plate and into the fridge.

Now lay a sheet of foil large enough to comfortably enclose one fillet on your work surface, then put a slightly smaller sheet of baking paper over this. Overlap two to three large leaves of English spinach, shiny side down, in the middle of the baking paper. Now, thoroughly coat one piece of salmon in the chermoula and sit it in the middle of leaves. Using the paper to help you, wrap the leaves completely around the fish (use some extra leaves if the salmon isn’t covered) then wrap the paper around it too, to form a log. Roll this up snugly in the foil. Secure the ends of the foil by twisting them tightly in opposite directions so the whole package resembles a neat bon-bon. Pop it in the fridge and repeat the rolling and wrapping with the remaining fillets. (At this stage, I mix the trimmings with some or the remaining chermoula then bundle them together into one or two rolls as well – they don’t slice quite as neatly as the rolls made with the whole fillets, but I usually chill them once they’re cooked and have them cold the next day by which time they cut beautifully.) Chill all the rolls for a couple of hours.

Preheat your oven to 200C.

Sit the salmon bonbons on a baking sheet, then put them in the oven and bake for 15 minutes – if the fillets are thick, allow an extra couple of minutes. Remove them from the oven and leave the rolls in their wrappings for at least 20 minutes to settle and firm up a bit – don’t worry they will cool down as the foil keeps them warm. (You can also chill them and serve them cool if it’s a hot day.)

While the rolls are settling, put the tomatoes, onion, olive oil, cumin, paprika, lemon juice and salt into a bowl and gently stir them together.

To serve the salmon, put a good spoonful of salad onto each plate, then scatter some olives and tiny coriander leaves on top. Unwrap the logs. Using a sharp knife (preferably not a serrated one as it tends to tear the flesh), slice the salmon into thick rounds. Overlap these on the plate beside the salad and serve with lemon wedges. Serves 4.

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