Saffron Salmon Kababs
Buttery, saffron-stained and gently spiced, these Iranian kababs come together in no time and make for a beautiful, flavorful meal. The warming spice mix of oregano, coriander, black pepper and turmeric balances and lifts the sweet notes from the saffron and salmon. To keep the fish in place when turning the kababs on the grill, use 1/2-inch-wide flat skewers or two thin, round skewers. You can entertain with these skewers or enjoy them on a quiet weeknight, along with dill rice and a side of fresh herbs, or cucumber, tomato and onion salad.
- Serves: 4 persons
- About 1 1/2 teaspoons saffron threads (0.35 grams)
- Pinch of granulated sugar
- 3tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
- 2tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2large garlic cloves, finely grated
- 1 ¼teaspoons kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
- ½teaspoon dried oregano, crushed between your fingers
- ½teaspoon ground coriander
- ½teaspoon black pepper
- ¼teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 ½pounds skinless salmon (preferably center-cut), cut into 1-inch pieces
- Fresh herbs, such as mint, cilantro and basil, for serving
Step 1Using a mortar and pestle or small bowl and the handle end of a wooden spoon, grind the saffron with a pinch of sugar to a fine powder (about 1/4 teaspoon). Transfer to a large bowl. Bring 2 tablespoons water to a boil in a saucepan, kettle or using the microwave, then let stand for 2 minutes to allow the water temperature to drop slightly. Add to the ground saffron powder, gently stir, cover and steep for 5 minutes.
Step 2To the saffron water, add the lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, oregano, coriander, pepper and turmeric. Stir to mix, add the salmon pieces and combine until the salmon is well coated. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Step 3As the salmon marinates, prepare a charcoal grill until the coals are ashed over and slightly cooled to medium-hot and or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Skewer the salmon and save any remaining marinade. Grill the skewers, brushing with the remaining marinade and turning every couple of minutes, until tender and buttery, about 10 minutes total. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over the fish. Enjoy, with bites of fresh herbs between bites of salmon.