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Recipe of the week: Persian-style baked salmon with fragrant rice and fresh herbs

18 February 2021
Recipe of the week: Persian-style baked salmon with fragrant rice and fresh herbs

Taken from Foolproof One-Pot by Alan Rosenthal

I love the stews and rice dishes of Iranian cuisine, famous for their layered flavours and textures and generous use of fresh herbs and spices. In this nod to Persian cooking, currants, saffron and orange blossom water add slightly sweet notes that balance the rich and savoury salmon.

Serves 4

  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 2 red onions, peeled and finely sliced
  • A pinch of saffron
  • 2tbs orange blossom water (optional)
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1tsp each of ground coriander, ground cumin, ground turmeric, ground cardamom
  • 6 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
  • 20g coriander, roughly chopped, plus 4tbs to serve
  • 10g dill, roughly chopped
  • 50g currants
  • 1tbs light olive oil
  • 3 x 250g precooked rice pouches
  • 1 x 500g skinless piece of salmon or 4 smaller fillets
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Melt the butter in your deep pot. Add the onions and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 12-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the saffron with the orange blossom water (or 2tbs plain water).

Once the onion has softened and begun to turn golden at the edges, add the garlic and cook for two more minutes. Now add the ground coriander, cumin, turmeric and cardamom and cook for a further minute. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and allow to cool for a few minutes. Keep the pot for later (there's no need to wash it).

Add the spring onions, coriander, dill, currants, 1½tsp salt and a good grind of black pepper to the softened onions. Mix well.

Add the oil to the pot used to cook the onions, swirling to cover the base. Empty the contents of one of the rice packets into the pot, separating the grains as much as possible with your fingers. Now add the salmon on top of the first layer of rice. Cover the salmon with half of the onion, herb and spice mixture. Top with another packet of rice, once again separating the grains. Add the remaining onion and herb mixture and finally top with the last pack of rice, separating the grains as before. Sprinkle the saffron-infused orange blossom water all over the top.

Pop the lid on and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and, using a large spoon, dig down to slightly break up the fish and distribute it gently among the other ingredients. Top with the extra chopped coriander and serve.

Tip: You can prepare everything ahead so you only need to pop the pot in the oven before serving. However, if you prepare so far in advance that you need to refrigerate before baking, you'll need to increase the baking time by up to 15 minutes – or until the fish is cooked at the centre and the rice piping hot, to account for the cooler starting temperature.

Photography by Rita Platts

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