Zahav Style Salmon
This recipe for pomegranate glazed salmon is perfect for our family because 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.
Last week, my wife and I met Chef Solomonov at the Chef for Silver Springs Martin Luther School fundraiser. We 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 first fish dish Michael put on his menu at Zahav. You will notice in his highly 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
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 it 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 pomegranate glazed 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 ending up with some stickage.
I lost some of the incredibly flavorful seared skin to the grill but did manage to peel some off the grill, which was delicious. Don’t make my mistake; prep your grill before adding the fish.
Chef Michael cooks the salmon directly over hot coals, which prevents the skin from sticking to the grill, but only some have a charcoal grill at home.
Then, you must 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. It is 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 eight 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.
Pomegranate Glazed Salmon Recipe
- Combine the minced garlic, orange zest, salt and Aleppo pepper in a small cup.
- Spread this mixture on both sides of the salmon and wrap in parchment paper or the paper they were wrapped in when you purchased them.
- Place in the refrigerator for 4 hours. The salt will lightly cure the fish so it stays together when cutting and placing on skewers.
- After 4 hours, start your grill or coal fire and remove the salmon from the refrigerator.
- Cut the salmon into 1-inch pieces and thread onto wooden skewers that have been brushed with vegetable or canola oil.
- When your grill is hot, be sure to carefully coat it with some oil and place the salmon chunks skin side down on to the grates. Important to start with the skin side down. While the salmon is cooking, brush the other side of the salmon with the pomegranate molasses.
- Once the skin is nice and crispy, carefully flip the skewers to cook the other side of the salmon pieces. Brush the skin side with some more pomegranate molasses and continue cooking until done, about 2 minutes more.Be careful to not overcook the salmon or it will dry out. Remember, the fish will continue to cook some while you are platting the other ingredient and getting ready to serve. You want to have your timing down so everything is ready to go once the salmon is done cooking.
We prepared this pomegranate glazed salmon 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.
We served his Uinta Brewery's Hop Nosh IPA with dinner, a Westmalle Trappist Ale, and an Allagash Confluence.
All different. All extremely good.