Coriander and Fennel Crusted Seared Salmon
Lior Lev Sercarz, from "Mastering Spice" by Lior Lev Sercarz
21⁄2 teaspoons coriander seeds (5 grams)
11⁄2 teaspoons fennel seeds (3 grams)
3⁄4 teaspoon Muntok or Penja white peppercorns (2 grams)
1⁄2 teaspoon caraway seeds (2 grams)
1 tablespoon plus 3⁄4 teaspoon dried onion slices (5 grams)
Finely grind together the coriander, fennel, peppercorns, caraway, and onion.
4 (1-inch thick) skin-on salmon fillets (7 ounces each)
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
Place the salmon on a large half sheet pan. Sprinkle salt all over the salmon and then sprinkle the spice blend all over as well. Be sure to coat the sides as well as the top and bottom (the skin side). Turn the salmon over to coat and press the spice on to crust it.
Generously coat a large nonstick skillet with oil (3 to 4 tablespoons) and heat over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Add the salmon, skin-side down. Let it sit for a minute before gently lifting each fillet to make sure the oil runs under it. You want to develop a crisp skin without burning the spices, so lower the heat if the spices brown too quickly or smell as if they’re about to burn. Cook until the skin is browned, about 5 minutes.
Use a thin spatula to carefully flip the fillets. Put the lemon wedges in the skillet between the fillets, cut-side down. You want the lemons to char and sizzle alongside the salmon. Sear the lemons until the bot- toms are browned, about 3 minutes. Flip and sear the other sides, too, about 5 minutes.
Take out the salmon when the sides just lose their transparency and a metal cake tester or thin-bladed knife slides through the thickest part with a little resistance, about 5 minutes. They’ll probably be done before the lemon.
Transfer the salmon to individual serving plates, skin-side up. When the lemons are done, transfer them to the plates too. Drizzle any accumulated pan juices around the fish. When the lemon wedges are cool enough to handle, squeeze them over the fish.