Zahav Style Salmon
We eat a lot of salmon in our house. We usually marinate it, then grill or roast it whole but in this recipe we cut it up into chunks, apply a pomegranate glace and stick it on skewers to cook on the grill. This recipe is adapted from one we found in our new cookbook Zahav – A World of Israeli Cooking by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook.
My wife and I met Chef Solomonov at the Chef for Silver Springs Martin Luther School fund raiser last week. We have also dined at his restaurant Zahav in Philadelphia a few years ago so it was great to meet him and get a copy of his new cookbook. Michael won the James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic in 2011.
According to the notes with the recipe, this salmon dish was the very first fish dish Michael put on his menu at Zahav. You will notice in his extremely informative cookbook, Chef Michael likes to skewer meats and fish to cook over coals or on the grill. We love to grill all year round so this recipe is a perfect fit for us.
Prepping the Salmon
In order to firm up the salmon so it doesn’t fall apart when cut up into chunks and stuck on skewers, it’s necessary to give it a quick cure with salt and some other ingredients for about 4 hours. The high fat content of salmon prevents if from drying out on the grill but be careful not to overcook the fish or it will be dry.
It looks like Chef Michael cooks his salmon over hot coals without a grill. I prepared this dish on our Weber gas grill and made the mistake of not oiling the grill rack before adding the fish and ended up with some stick-age. I lost some of the incredibly flavorful seared skin to the grill but did manage to peel some off the grill and it was delicious. Don’t make my mistake and prep your grill before you add the fish.
Chef Michael cooks the salmon directly over hot coals which would prevent the skin from sticking to the the grill but not everyone has a charcoal grill at home. Then you have to devise something to hold the skewers over the fire at just the right height. I opted to use my grill but would be open to charcoal another time.
You may be able to find some in your local supermarket or gourmet store but we couldn’t so we made our own with pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice. Easy to make at home but does take time. You can find my recipe for pomegranate molasses here.
I did a quick search at Amazon and found over 8 brands of pomegranate molasses priced between $6 – $14 per bottle. If you plan ahead and don’t want to make your own, it’s readily available online.
We prepared this meal with friends from Utah. Isaac is a brewer for Uinta Breweries and is teaching me a ton about different styles of beer and how they are made. I’m hoping to get Isaac to write some fun articles about beer. There is a lot more to it than I ever imagined.
With dinner, we served his Uinta Brewery’s Hop Nosh IPA along with a Westmalle Trappast Ale and an Allagash Confluence. All different. All extremely good.