Moroccan Baked Salmon with Harissa Sauce

I love this recipe because I think the bold spice and acidity of the sauce balance the healthy fats in the salmon. The sauce can be made several days ahead to make meal prep easy. If you are in need of a side item to go with it, I always suggest a salad with raw vegetables and a whole grain couscous.

Sustainability Tip: To maximize the clean, fresh flavor of salmon while also helping take care of our seafood supply, search out a responsibly raised product at your local grocery store. The salmon we serve our clients is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council with a four-star rating. Curious what your fish is rated? Visit this website for more information.

Salmon

  • 4 pieces salmon filet, 5-6 ounces each
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, dry and ground
  • 1 teaspoon coriander, dry and ground
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves, ground
  • 1/4 black pepper, ground
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients into a small mixing bowl and set aside.

Arrange the salmon, skin side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If you do not have parchment paper, foil or non-stick spray will work in its place.

Brush the olive oil over the flesh of the salmon, then sprinkle the spice mix evenly over it. If you want to sprinkle a pinch of salt on the filets as well, do so.

Place the salmon in the oven and bake for 12 minutes, or until the salmon is just barely cooked through. This will ensure it is cooked correctly but is not dry.

Harissa Sauce

Yield: 4 cups

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 cup white onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 can (30 oz) roasted red bell peppers, drained
  • 4 to 6 (each) dried pasilla or guajillo chiles, stemmed
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo
  • 2 teaspoons cumin, ground
  • 2 teaspoons paprika, ground
  • 2 teaspoons coriander, ground
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, pure

Place a 3-quart stockpot on the stove over medium-high heat. Once warm, add the canola oil, then add the onions and garlic cloves. Saute for 3-5 minutes, until they soften and start to get a little color.

Add the bell peppers, dried chiles, dried apricots, cumin, paprika, and coriander. Stir well to incorporate, then add enough water to just cover everything (the dried chiles will float, so be careful not to add too much water trying to cover them).

Bring the sauce to a slow simmer and let cook over low heat for 20-30 minutes. Once the dried chiles and apricots are soft, remove the pot from heat and stir in the vinegar, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and sesame oil.

Working in batches, transfer the sauce to a blender and puree well. When pureeing warm liquid, be sure to only fill the blender pitcher halfway, ensure the lid is secure before turning it on, and start on low power and work your way up to high.

Once pureed, transfer the harissa to a bowl and taste for seasoning. You may want to add more salt, pepper, lemon juice, or sesame oil. Let cool and refrigerate—the sauce will keep well for 7-10 days. 


Chef Brandon Foster

Brandon Foster began his life in the kitchen at the Best Western in Frisco, Colorado, almost 18 years ago. His passion for ingredients and drive to learn technique led him down the mountain to Denver, where he worked in two of Denver’s most fondly remembered restaurants, The Fourth Story and Mel’s. He joined the crew at Vesta in 2005 as a line cook and became executive chef in 2010, focusing on getting back to the roots of cooking through charcuterie and seasonal ingredients. Ultimately, Chef Brandon’s career highlights centered on events like Plates for the Peak, Invest in Kids, and James Beard Foundation dinners where he could play a role in helping people in need- a passion that led him to Project Angel Heart in 2016. Outside the kitchen, Chef Brandon enjoys spending time skiing, camping, golfing, and eating with his wife Larissa and their three kids.